A Time to Rest
“I’m tired” seems to be a pretty common response to the “how are you?” question in any conversation lately. It seems that fatigue has become a virus infecting people of all ages. This thought has been running over in my tired mind more than I have been running from one task to another. I have always been one who has felt as though I was not doing enough in many areas of my life. It didn’t matter how much effort I was putting forth or how much I was trying to do something, I would not be able to sleep unless the task at hand was accomplished.
A lesson I have been quickly learning recently is the extreme, even biblical importance of rest. I am guilty of packing my day-planner with all of the things I have to do and places I have to be. Before I know it, another month has passed and I am exhausted.
Statistics have changed and fluctuated telling us exactly how many hours of sleep we need to function properly. We hear of those people who seem to peak their performance on a mere four hours of sleep, while others act like bears whose hibernation was interrupted unless they have at least eight hours in bed. There is, however, a difference in sleep and rest.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
Rest is defined as ceasing from work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. We first see rest during the very first week the world was created. God worked for six days creating and speaking life and mankind into existence and then, on the seventh day, He rested.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made” (Genesis 2:2).
Think about that for a second. The God of all creation shaped all the wonders of the world. He breathed out the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest, the Nile River, and the first man and woman, and when He was finished, He rested.
GOD Himself gave us an example of the importance of this assignment.
Rest is imperative, yet so neglected. Too often we find ourselves making wrong decisions or wearing ourselves out because we refuse to stop and take a break. “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places” (Leviticus 23:3).
I am not sure how much you can relate to this, but people tend to make very poor decisions when they are tired. I have been a victim of the sleepy decision compromiser, I will admit. When you are tired you don’t always think straight. When you are constantly neglecting relaxation, you are literally wearing your body, your mind, and even your spirit out.
Even in the midst of a storm Jesus rested. “And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep” (Matthew 8:24).
You may be the busiest person you know. You may have a schedule that makes even the President himself look lazy, but you have to take time to rest and recharge. It is part of ministry. You can teach, preach, sing, evangelize, and travel the world, but if you exhaust yourself to the point of uselessness, what good will you be?
“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while’” (Mark 6:30-31).
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Yes, it is necessary to give yourself up whole-heartedly to the Kingdom and to always strive to do as much as you can for God. I am not discrediting that. In all this we must also honor the rest we are so desperately neglecting.
You are a child of God, and He knows the plans and callings He has for your life. Follow Him. Seek Him and do not neglect the necessary time of resting your weary self in His hands. He has given a command—the rest is up to you.
Rachel Thorne was born in Florida and has lived in many places throughout the United States. She is a graduate of Urshan College, formerly known as Gateway College of Evangelism. She wants to make a difference and change her world. Rachel is actively seeking the will of God for her life and is willing to do whatever He has for her.