25 Jan REST – A Rhythm For Which We Were Created
I am a productivity addict. Every one of my college classes counted toward my major or minor, so not one lecture went to waste. The first time I get an unwanted email, I immediately unsubscribe from the list to ensure none of my time will be wasted by that sender in the future. I can’t bring myself to read fiction when there are so many things to be learned and practices to be implemented from more “practical” books. In short, if it’s not productive, it feels like a waste of my time.
Our culture praises productivity, so my little busybody lifestyle doesn’t seem like a problem. How else am I supposed to get everything done?
But what if there’s more to life than doing all the things?
We were created to enjoy our Creator, and that requires us to slow down and enjoy the rhythm at which He built us.
It may seem like rest when we sit down to watch a show or scroll through social media, but I think those mindless activities are more like drugs than the cure. These digital drugs mask our weary symptoms temporarily – leaving us in a funk, not refreshed.
The Bible has a lot to say about rest, and it sounds a whole lot better than the short-term high we find from Netflix. It says we can find peace, refreshment, restoration for our souls, and rest from our suffering and turmoil.* Jesus tells us “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Our God is so compassionate and loving toward us that one of His 10 commandments is to honor the Sabbath, that is, to rest and worship. He wants what’s best for us, and that includes an entire day spent recovering from a week of work and reconnecting with Him. Rest is not a luxury that slaves get to enjoy, and that is what we were before we met Him. Slaves to our sinful desires. But “Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 NLT) Let’s refuse to serve that harsh master of productivity any longer. If we just ask, God will help us sift through our to-do list, and clearly see what can be rescheduled or cut from our lives as excess.
We’re no longer slaves to the broken way of the world. In fact, as believers in Christ, we have been adopted as children of The King. Some of our inheritance is reserved for heaven, and some is available here on earth. We don’t have to wait for heaven to find rest for our souls. It is a gift we can enjoy in this life if we will follow His roadmap for living well. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.” (Hebrews 4:9-11a, emphasis mine)
The practice of Sabbath will look different for each person. (Let’s not get tangled up in a bunch of rules – that hasn’t gone well in the past!) But if you can find a day each week to unplug, and spend time with The Lord, you will find refreshment for your soul. If, like me, it’s hard to fathom losing a day of productivity, it might take baby steps. It feels like a waste of a day to put off laundry, grocery shopping and emails, but like every spiritual discipline, the payoff is worth the effort. From it we will find a joy that can only come from living in the rhythm for which we were created.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about implementing the practice of Sabbath:
- What digital drugs am I using to mask my weariness?
- Where do I feel most restful?
- What inspires me to worship God?
- What day of the week has margin that can be expanded and eventually turned into a Sabbath?
*References for the benefits of rest:
Matthew 11:28-30, Isaiah 14:3, Psalm 4:8, Exodus 23:12, Psalm 23:3
“Garden City” by John Mark Comer – A great resource for the Biblical view on work and rest.