Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
Do you ever struggle to get enough sleep? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there are significant things that happen to your body and mind when you don’t get enough sleep. You get sick because your body has a tougher time fighting off illness. A lack of sleep can also affect the health of your heart. In addition, it becomes difficult to think. More seriously, your cancer risk increases. You forget things. You gain weight and become more accident prone. All from an ongoing pattern of not getting enough sleep. But sleep is just one type of rest that we need. But what about rest in the middle of our busiest days? Is that even possible?
Does your life feel way too busy and out of whack? BUSYNESS doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of life—it can be engineered out of your daily patterns. But first you have to believe that (a) busyness is unnatural and unhealthy and (b) you can change your habits by a decision of thankfulness. When you take the time to think through what’s important, you can find a way to get everything done that really needs to be done.Letting things slide isn’t the end of the world. The question to ask is this: Is getting everything done leading me to sin? Is it causing me to stress or worry or to become bitter, resentful, or irritable? If so, something needs to change.
Rest isn’t an illusion or reserved only for the lazy or privileged few, and it isn’t some far-off promise waiting for you in retirement. Rest is possible every day, even in the midst of our work. And rest is necessary to the life of faith, because while busyness replaces relationship, rest paves the way for it.
“All who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let usHebrews 4:10-11
do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.”
God wants us to rest—not to retire or become lazy but to rest— so we won’t allow our work or the stuff we work for to become more important than he is. REST IS REQUIRED OF THE BELIEVER FIRST BECAUSE IT IS IN IMITATION OF GOD, WHO RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY. Rest is also important because it’s in this rest that we hear from God. When we’re caught up in a flurry of activity and hurry we can’t hear his voice; we only hear the commands of the things that are yelling at us to get done. But when we rest, we take the yoke of Christ on ourselves and make him a part of our labor. Life isn’t meant to be a rat race where we run around aimlessly in search of increase of power, possessions, and self-fulfillment. It’s intended to be a race toward humility, contentment, and thankfulness at the foot of the cross.
Questions to ponder
Generally speaking, are you good at resting or not so good?
What are some conditions or situations that best allow you to rest?
Think about rest in light of thankfulness; what is it about rest that communicates thankfulness from you towards God?