“Rest” is something of a taboo word in our modern culture. Work is elevated to idol status, and those who choose to take time out are often labeled “lazy” or “non-committal.” And it doesn’t stop with people who work in secular industries — many churches and pastors expect an unhealthy 24/7 work schedule from their staff members, often allowing little time for rest and spiritual refreshment. So why is it so important to break the mold on this one?
Here’s a reason: rest is demonstrated, ordained and commanded by God himself. In the beginning, God completed an infinite amount more work than you and I will be able to achieve in our brief lifespans — He created the heavens and the earth and everything within them. But, crucially, on the seventh day, He rested. The Almighty God of unending strength and power took a break, and He asks us to do the same.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made,” reads Genesis 2:2-3.
God carved out this day of rest just for us, and He expects us to use it.
If you don’t take a break, you will eventually hit a wall
We are finite human beings with limited physical capacity. No matter how indestructible we might like to think we are, we simply cannot travel through life at 100 mph without it eventually catching up with us. Health problems, relationship issues, stress-induced ailments — all these things will begin to plague us if we cannot bring ourselves to a place of regular rest.
In a recent daily devotional, Pastor Rick Warren delivered a dramatic example of what happened when he failed to place any value on rest. Working 18-hour days in the early stages of planting his now thousands-strong megachurch, Warren found himself spiritually, physically and emotionally spent. Then, one day, the fatigue hit him like a freight train.
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