This past Saturday was only my second day off since the summer started. That’s the life of a youth pastor, especially in the summer. I don’t say this so that you have pity on me, nor am I complaining. I love my job and busyness comes along with the territory. I say this because it has me thinking about the importance of rest.
“And God rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” Genesis 2:2
Right off the bat in the account of creation God rested. Why did God rest? It’s not as if he had to rest. I mean, He IS God. He is omnipotent, all-powerful. But, God rested.
So, when we read this we should take note. Rest is VERY important.
It’s even in the 10 Commandments (4th):
“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Ex. 20:8
So, why should we care about rest? In this day and time when America’s most prominent city boasts the nickname, “The City that Never Sleeps,” what is the meaning of rest?
A brief word about rest and laziness. Rest is good; laziness is bad. Rest is from God; laziness is a sin. There is a difference. Laziness is taking rest and abusing it so that it is stretched out over several extreme potato-chip eating, video game playing, movie watching days. Like any sin, Satan takes rest and turns it on its head to be promoted as something desirable. Rest is beautiful, but laziness is gross.
Now. Take a deep, restful breath.
Though there are many different reasons rest is important. I am only going to cover correlation between rest and relationships.
There are three primary relationships that benefit directly from rest.
God rested. We should rest for God and for godliness. Rest allows us to refocus upon our walk with Christ. At times, we get so busy that who gets cut out is God himself. It is important to rest so that we can be more cognizant of God and who He is in our life.
When we are overly busy, our relationship with others wanes. This includes family, friends and church. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen relationships damaged just simply because one party is too busy for the other. We are commanded to love God first, but we are also called to love others. Proper rest puts all this in perspective.
No, I am not saying that you should be self-centered and care only about yourself. Rest is good for us. It promotes energy and mindfulness. Have you ever been so tired that you turn into a virtual, living zombie? You know you can’t function well. We are called to love God with all our “heart, soul, mind and strength.” Rest enables us to work hard for the Lord with everything that we do and say.
Students need to also know the importance of rest. Busyness is an idol that is puffed up daily in students’ lives (and it’s many times encouraged by their parents!). The habit of rest should never be taken for granted and must be taught as well as lived in our everyday lives.