Rest for the Weary

“In a piece of music, the notation for ‘rest’ is a pause in the music. The rest is as important as the note. The space that is not filled with music is a space that helps frame the music. It keeps its meter and holds the melody in place. The musical rest is a positive filling of that space, not a void.” “The composer of the music carefully placed those rests as parts of the whole. To remove them changes everything about the music: its meter, its interpretation, even the melody.” Stephen Shortridge writes in Deepest Thanks, Deeper Apologies

Work is important, but for some of us it’s too important.  Time with others is important, but for some it's too important.  Social activity is important, but for some it's too important.  Rest is important, but for some, it's not important enough.

It probably could be argued that some of us work too hard. We are driven. We are passionate. We want to serve. We may even be so active because we love Jesus. Yet, there is a harsh reality that we will face...the old adage is true... if we neglect rest, we may win a sprint, but we will hurt ourselves and others along the marathon way.

What's your plan for rest?  Here are some pointers...

1. Rest, along with Relationship is Good.
God doesn't need us. He wants us. He wants a relationship. A relationship with Christ certainly includes serving Him, but it starts with loving him. Work and serving flow from a love relationship. Don't put the work before the love.

"And [Jesus] 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." Mk 6:31. Several observations...

  • This request was made after a period of hard work. REALLY hard work. The disciples were sent by Jesus, and they were working so hard, they didn't have time to even sit and eat a meal. Jesus didn't rebuke them for their hard work.  Work is good.
  • Jesus invites the disciples "to come". He did not tell them "to go". I think there are 2 appropriate lessons here. Although he told them to be alone, he was going with them. Make sure that Jesus is involved in your rest. 2, Jesus himself took time to rest. His alone time, always included the father, but he often got away.
  • Jesus used the words "away", "by yourself", "desolate". This is especially good for those that find themselves in the midst of others, in the midst of constant and frenetic activity. Listen up hard workers. Listen up social butterflies.
  • Don't feel guilty about avoiding people, those in great need, for a little time. It's more than ok and this choice actually honors the Lord. This might mean saying no to a good opportunity to serve.  It might mean saying no to all opportunities during a certain time of the day. Remember he wants you. Serving others must come after time with Jesus.

2. Determine What Rest Looks Like for You
Rest doesn't look the same for all people. For some people, it might include a hobby. For some music helps. For some it's silence. For some it includes reading. For some its adventure. For some it's early in the morning, or mid day, or late in the day.

3. Make a Plan
It seems to me that our rest plan should address our connection with God and prayer, physical rest, relational rest, time to think and plan, time to empty our minds and time to fill our minds.
Consider a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual retreat.  Seriously, every day, step away for a retreat.  Each week set aside a special time to step away.  Each month, take an extended period to rest with Jesus.  Each year, take an even more extended time.

You. Your family. Those you lead. Encourage them to do the same. You can't force them, but you certainly can make it easier for them. Work hard as God leads, but listen to yourself, your heart, your mind, your body (same for your family, those you lead) and make adjustments to the plan when necessary. Need to get away for a few hours? Go for it. Need to take a walk?

"Come away" He says.

4. Execute the Plan
Maybe you need accountability? Find a friend to help. Don't give up. The work may consume you for a period of time, for a season, but don't apologize for taking the rest when it's needed.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto Me and Rest"
Author: Horatius Bonar (1846)
Published in 1060 hymnals

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one,
stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived"

Till these traveling days are done...  Pastor Rob
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Rob Thompson

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