I'll Rest When I'm Dead

This past August, my family and I spent 7 days in New Hampshire. We were blessed to attend Week 7 of Camp Spofford’s Family Camp. The photo below was taken while we were there. It was an awesome week of rest, fellowship, family time, faith development, and fun. Our days were filled with canoeing, kayaking, hiking, tubing, fishing, and much more. This was the second year we have gone to Camp Spofford and I can tell you that I am already looking forward to next year. 

You may be wondering why I am rubbing in my incredible summer vacation now that we are in the midst of the craziness of September. It is because, for me, Camp Spofford equates to rest. It is a place my family can go and can simply rest. We have an entire week together in which we have no responsibilities and can just be.

Rest is an important part of our Christian walk and is often ignored in an American context. We are commanded in Scripture to rest. The standard is set for us by God himself in Genesis 1 & 2 when he rested after creating. Later, when giving the Ten Commandments to Moses, God commands his people to keep the Sabbath holy by resting and dedicating the day to God. He specifically commands that no human or animal is to work on the Sabbath. This theme of rest continues throughout the Bible. If this is an important Scriptural command, it begs the question why is rest so important?
Rest allows us to create sacred time in our lives. When we rest we are able to more clearly focus on worship, prayer, study, etc. We often mark this sacred time by attending Sunday worship services and other Christian holidays throughout the year. But setting aside time for rest allows us to set time aside for sacred purposes and draw closer to God.

Resting requires us to trust God’s provision. God is sovereign and has promised to provide for all of our needs. By taking a regular time of rest in our lives, we are trusting that even in the midst of our non-working, God will provide.

Rest allows us to experience physical, mental, and spiritual renewal. As we rest, we create space for ourselves to decompress from the stresses of daily life. We can step back from some of our responsibilities and take a deep breath. It allows us to have space to reconnect with those we love and enjoy having fun with one another. As we do this, we are renewed!

Rest is a counter-cultural action to take in a culture that worships work. Productivity can be a healthy goal but can be a slave-driving idol as well. Our culture is overwhelmed by consumerism and a dedication to around the clock work. We are told to sacrifice our marriages and children on the altar of climbing the corporate ladder. Rest pushes back against all of this and establishes space for us to pursue relationships and care for those we love.

I am not going to suggest that embracing a rhythm of rest is an easy action to take. In our American culture which is obsessed with work and ensuring our kids are involved in every activity under the sun, rest can be hard to find. But we are commanded to rest. Rest is good for us. We need rest. Camp Spofford may not be the place where you rest but you must find that pace and fir it into your life regularly.

Josh Cervone