“Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:3 (NIV)
Today, I feel like a car that’s run out of gas.
I’ve been speeding through life without stopping — hustling and hurrying my way through every invite on my calendar and every person in my life. Sure, I saw the “low fuel” alerts, but I ignored them and just kept going.
And now I find myself running on empty, overwhelmed and anxious, wrapped up in blankets, candy wrappers everywhere, flipping through every verse my Bible's concordance has on “rest.”
And then a verse I’ve read many times before strikes me differently:
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2-3, NIV).
The day God poked holes in the night sky? Good. The day God created the narwhals? Good. The day God created man and woman? Very good. (Genesis 1:16-31) But the day God stopped and rested from His work? That day was different. That day was set apart. That day was holy.
Rest is so significant that God declared one day of the week for it.
But what does true rest look like? How do I break the daily grind of performance and productivity to honor a day of rest?
Jesus offers us examples of resting without staring at a screen or eating a whole stuffed-crust pizza in one sitting (guilty!). He shows us rest that is restoring, not mindlessly distracting.
After He served and saved the masses:
- Jesus spent alone time with the Father.
Away from His work and His people, Jesus talked with His Dad. There was praying and pleading, rejoicing and praising, listening and waiting. It was quality time together with the One who loved Him the most.
- Jesus spent quality time with His closest friends.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we see Him sharing food, emotions and time with close friends and family. While Jesus had many followers, He intentionally took time away from the masses for quality time with a few people.
To us, shifting from 100 miles per hour to a complete standstill may feel wrong. It feels counterproductive and is countercultural. It feels almost impossible to cut out 15 minutes a day, let alone a whole entire day, to rest. But it is necessary. It is life-giving, joy-filling and soul-restoring.
It is a day that has to be different from the rest.
Our rest day is our holy day.
A day of rest in the presence of a heavenly Father who loves us more than anything, and a day shared with friends who know us better than anyone. Now that will fill up our tanks.
From the beginning, we were never designed to be constantly on the go. God didn’t rest on the seventh day because He needed to — He did it because He knew we would need to.
Jesus, help me to choose the holiness of rest over the pressure of busyness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Matthew 11:28-30, “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.” (NIV)
What are other lessons we can learn from Jesus about how to rest?
Plan a day of rest for yourself this week. In what specific ways will you rest? Let us know in the comments!
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