“And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” Mark 6:31
Wow, we just got through another Christmas season.
Does your life really seem to ramp up every December as you prepare for Christmas and New Year’s? Boy ours sure does. Between parties, events to attend, kids coming home from school and our Christmas services at church our schedules are booked solid. Life can get that way and what is supposed to be a great time with family and friends comes and goes without really appreciating it as much as we should because we never took time to rest. Did you know that is no surprise to God? In fact, He is the One who designed us with a need for regular times of rest and relaxation even during busy seasons.
Jesus knew that in the midst of a busy ministry schedule that He needed to make room for His disciples to get away and rest. But resting didn’t begin with Him it started at the time of creation. Remember what God did on the seventh day? Sure you do, He rested. We know that God never sleeps nor slumbers so why did He need to rest? Well, He really didn’t need to but was actually just giving us a pattern to live by. It’s the idea of working really hard when we work, and then making time in our lives to rest from it. In fact, God made a point to include rest as one the Ten Commandments. Can you imagine that? He made resting a commandment. Here’s what it says about it:
“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:11
A Sabbath is primarily a period of rest for the purpose of spiritual, physical and mental enrichment. The Jewish word for Sabbath is "Shabbat" and it comes from the root Shin-Bet-Tav, meaning to cease, to end, or to rest. In modern language we’d say, a time to disconnect from the normal day to day stuff, to get off the grid awhile and see that life really does go on without Facebook or Twitter.
World-class athletes understand the importance of resting their bodies. Farmers know that there are seasons where their land needs to rest. Horse trainers understand that between training and races that their animals need to be rested. Athletes know that their muscles need to re-build, farmers know that their land need to be replenished with nutrients, and horse trainers know that without rest their animals may face injury. If all of those folks understand the value of rest, how come you and I fight it?
This week we closed our offices and gave the staff time off just to chill and get some rest. Some took trips to see family; others used the time just to hang out with friends. I’ve read a couple of Tom Clancy spy novels. I have to admit that at times I felt a little guilty of not doing something more spiritual than reading about Jack Ryan saving the world, but it actually has been good to my soul.
What do you like to do that brings you rest? What can you engage yourself in to get away from the day-to-day routine? I urge you to make a point to set aside time this next year for regular times of rest. Jesus did, and so did his disciples, so why not you? You need to make time to “Rest A While.”