We all need to find ways to rest…
I, on the other hand, have no struggles with sitting around a fire, or on the porch, or at my computer and find the rest my mind and body needs.The only thing I like to do in my rest is to get up and do something during my time off.
It can simply be a trip to the store, or coffee shop, or as we experienced here in Steamboat Springs, a short drive and walk through the downtown blocks, enjoying lunch, and the tourist experience.
There is strength for me that comes from the casual living of daily life during my rest time.
Unless I unplug from the web and phone, there is no downtime from my responsibilities. There are questions with the house sitter, folks in church with various needs, and family that still experiences life in the fast lane while we are resting.How do we get so weary?
By living life to the fullest, and probably from not learning how to handle the daily stresses that come from a full plate of duties.
Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life…” and then lists reasons (Gen 27:46). Job said, “My soul is weary of life…” and he too lists the reasons (Job 10:1). The Psalmists says he was weary from crying (Ps 69:3).
We all have a full life that keeps us weary. Perhaps it’s not always a bodily experience, but a mental and spiritual weariness. I know the stresses I feel as a pastor, student, teacher and a family member wearies me as I struggle with how people live their lives, the constant strain on mental connections to tasks, and the struggles we all face.
In fact, the Apostle Paul lists all the events of life that creates physical weariness and stress, but sums it up with what I feel is the main reason ministers struggle with their pastorate.Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. (2Co 11:28)
Imagine the overarching stresses leaders of commerce feel! Every waking, and sleeping, moment stressed by the needs of their customers and employees in uncertain times. The same is true for those who have the care for churches all around the world, or even just down your street.
Pray for them! In fact, Paul says it much better than I can…Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. (Heb 13:17-19)
This is how he gets restored!How do we find true rest?
Abraham entreated the messenger to find a little rest under the tree with a refreshing drink (Gen 18:4) – and this was probably in the shade. I’ve been in this neck of the woods and there were so few trees out on the plains! God even sets up a plan for 6 days of work and 1 day of rest (Ex 23:12). Only we often find ourselves so busy with fun time on this one day that we truly get no rest.
I wonder if the only real way we find rest is to find ourselves in the comfort of the Holy Spirit?To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (Isa 28:12)
But will people hear? It’s not the game time of life, nor the casual labor, nor satisfying the fleshly desires – true rest comes from the Spiritual Blessings of God! What was this rest? The Spirit of God.
God is the true example of rest. He created all we know, and don’t know, in 6 days, and then he rested. (Gen 2:2)
I have been a bi-vocational minister for 30+ years. Over 20 years of pastoring while still needing to earn a living, and many years spent in department leadership and working a full time job. Some times I would come home from work, scarf down dinner, say hello to the family, and then rush back out to minister, or teach school. As a Youth Pastor, I would drive from my downtown job, rush to the house, only to return quickly back to a youth function and be up until nearly midnight, only to be at work at 7am the next morning.Even now, we are on our 40th Anniversary trip and all my responsibilities are still on my plate. I have a major paper due in school this week. Even though my instructor tells me to focus on our celebration, it does little good. Deadlines still exist… Hmmmm… God, speak to me!
This is why I try and maintain restraint from planning church events on Saturday. Five days of hard work, Saturday is your day of rest, Sunday is your time for worshiping God! In fact, our church picnics and banquets are always on Sunday afternoon – I maintain your sanctity of a day off for rest.
Somewhere along the way we have lost the concept of Rest.
So, those of us enjoying our role of ministry on Sunday – find a day of rest. Let it be true rest for the body and soul. Separate this day from all the other days of work. Do not miss out on a Sunday time with God just to enjoy your downtime with this world – no, take a day off from your job to do this and keep God in the focused picture of life.