I felt this post may have been hastily conceived when asked yesterday what this week’s topic would be. That of course was until I was forwarded an email advocating something along the lines of what had been thought ill-conceived. I’m currently launching a campaign in my life to be more responsible and disciplined and a big part of that is getting rest. It is such a simple concept (getting rest) that it doesn’t translate in my head oftentimes.
Not only is rest a good idea in general, but it’s also biblical. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” says Exodus 20:8. This command helps make up one of the Ten Commandments. The explanation follows in verses 9 through 11:
“Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
This is obviously a big deal if it is included in the Ten Commandments, but I find it a little dubious and easy to ignore. What does this commandment particularly mean? I go to church on Sundays and don’t go into the office or do work of nearly any other kind on that day. Isn’t that enough?
In case you couldn’t already guess where I was going with this, no it’s not at all. There is no way this would be in the bible if it were so simple and there is no way it would be included in the all-important Ten Commandments if this weren’t a bold statement about God Himself. Sorry, that last assertion is another discussion altogether, but try to work with me on this one. This life was never meant to be a set of do’s and don’ts, so I don’t aim to pretend it is here and now.There has to be a “logical” explanation here somewhere.
Despite my desire to be self-sufficient, I believe I need rest simply for the reason that I need God. In other words, I can at least cognitively admit and understand that the only way in which I can truly rest is when it comes from God. It simply is not my personality to be resting sufficiently and often when I do settle down and try to rest, I don’t feel rested. In fact, most of the time I decide to sleep in, I end up feeling more tired than I would have otherwise. All that to say, I can’t just will myself to rest. Maybe you’re different, though.
I’m not just talking about sleep, I’m talking about true rest. I’m referring to a rest that encompasses mind, body and soul. If I can’t even rest my body well, there’s no way I can even get started on the mind, let alone the soul. Have you ever experienced this kind of rest; the rest spoken of in Matthew 11:28–29? I have in fact enjoyed this rest, but I know that the times it actually did happen, it was not of my own ability or will. The nature I feel of my soul is to seek and wander. I do not know how I can control it whatsoever, let alone force it to rest. This is where Jesus says in verse 29 to take His yoke and there we’ll find rest for our souls. If it is my soul’s nature to wander, then this must mean that in Jesus my soul finds contentment and satisfaction enough to allow for it to desire to rest. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure my mind just got blown as I’m typing. If in Christ my soul finds rest, then what am I doing wasting my precious time on all this other garbage that takes me away from rest?!
This post has been a little frenetic as is characteristic of my life recently, but it’s covered rest: the basis for, the source and what true rest actually is. Now that I’ve rambled on and taken valuable moments of your time, it’s your turn. Is there a basis for rest? If so, where do you see it? In what do you find rest? What does rest actually mean? Or maybe you disagree categorically.