We only have so much time in a day, week, and a year and although that time adds up it never seems to feel like enough. With all we have to do on a daily occasion it seems like there are not enough hours. So when we hear that we should take a full day of rest a week to honor the Sabbath and some other time during the week to rest and reconnect with God, it doesn’t seem doable. We do the math to see if we can fit everything in and then taking 28 or more hours out of our already packed schedule to fit in time for God seems crazy. We ask why would God ask us to push ourselves to our breaking point? What does God gain from us being weary?
The answer to those questions is absolutely nothing and that is why He tells us basically the opposite in the Bible. We read so many times in the Bible that God is calling us to rest and restore our souls. He tells us to be still in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”. He gives us instructions to come to him when we feel tired and overworked in Matthew 11:28-30, “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.”. Jesus even showed us how important rest was during His time on earth. He fell asleep on the boat as they were crossing the sea in the middle of a storm, He went away to pray to the Father, and took the time to rest and restore His soul while He traveled with the Disciples. Mark 6:31 even describes a time in which Jesus encouraged the disciples to take time to rest. “And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”
This all sounds wonderful but it is never as easy as it sounds… Personally, I have always struggled with taking it easier and resting. If I am not constantly moving I feel like I am not living up to my full potential to what God is wanting from me. I feel that I am leaving something out and letting God down. In order to make myself feel better, I just keep running and running until I cannot take it anymore. I am sure many of you can relate to this. Unfortunately, as we see from the verses above that is not what God intended for us, He does not want an army of burdened soldiers. God is a loving father who wants what is best for all of us, which means He does not want us to be overwhelmed, worried, and tired all the time.
I have found that this is a problem in our whole society. Our society struggles with busybody disease. If we aren’t running we are either passed out from exhaustion or on our deathbed. Psalms 127:2 describes it perfectly, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” The real issue is that this is completely against the way of God. We feel like we need to always be running to keep up with what God wants but in reality, when we do this we leave Jesus in the dust. In the Bible, Jesus was never running, He was always calmly going from place to place. He was always moving forward but at a walking pace, not the running pace we are at. Jesus wants to WALK with us daily and spend quality time with us but we are running so far ahead of Him that He can’t keep us.
One way we can spend that quality time with God is by honoring the Sabbath weekly and taking time with God daily. There are many reasons why it is important to keep the Sabbath but the two I want to focus on are the following. The first is that it is found in the ten commandments (Exodus 20:8-11) and the second is that God Himself rested after the creation of the world (Genesis 2:2-3). We know how important this is because on top of these two things it was brought up often throughout the Bible. This is not just something the church or the Bible says in order to trick you into being at church or giving time to God. When you make time for God, He makes time for you. This is not an equal trade, the time we put in is outweighed by the gift of knowledge, grace, peace, love, etc. we receive from God when we give Him our time. What we don’t realize is that honoring the Sabbath and taking the time to rest will help us be more productive with our time.
I challenge you to give it a try. If you can’t dedicate a full day to rest then at least start by dedicating a few hours. It doesn’t have to be on Sunday, it can be any day or any time. Just set some time apart for the Lord and allow Him to work in and through that time. At first, it might be uncomfortable and you might feel like you are being lazy or unproductive. Share your progress in the comments so we can share the journey.