Why Rest?

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.  And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.   Genesis 2:1-2

We fight rest.  Battle against it.  Many wear their tiredness as a medal of honor, proof of their significance. We subtly war against one another for the title of “Least Rested” with our proclamations of late nights with children, time spent serving, hours put in at work, and list of tasks accomplished placed in Facebook status updates.

Like many battles we wage, though, we misplace our focus. We compete with one another and race against the clock trying to do more and more … our only measure is temporal.   We set our sights too low and let our guard down, forgetting that our battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” {Ephesians 6:12}.

Rest is not merely a physical issue … it’s a spiritual command.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 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.”  Deuteronomy 20:8 – 11, emphasis added

Why rest?

  • We are called to remember. I don’t know about you but in the midst of the chaos of day-to-day living, I often fail to remember the blessing of God, the sacrifice of Christ, the gift of salvation.  It is through slowing, stilling, resting, that we train our hearts to remember.

Get this straight:  The rest of God – the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover the part of God we’re missing – is not a reward for finishing.  It’s not a bonus for work well done.  It’s sheer gift.  It’s a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished.   Sabbath is not the break we’re allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of our obligations.  It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than God told us we could. {93}

  • Rest is holy. Do we really ever think of rest that way?  That God intended our rest to be part of that purification process in our lives?  Purposed that through rest we are set apart?  Planned that rest would sanctify us?    In a world that rages with unrest politically, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, we must remember that we are “aliens and strangers” {1 Peter 2:11} and it is often our understanding and practice of rest that best sets us apart from the things and priorities of this world in order to align us with the purposes and plans of eternity.

From the beginning, God intended for us to rest.  He gave us His example of resting in Genesis, His commandment to rest in Exodus, and throughout Scripture we are called time and again to experience true rest in Him.    The call to rest  is a call to slow, and learning to heed that beckoning grows us closer to Him.

Why do you fight rest?  What are issues you allow to pull you from resting?

13 Replies to “Why Rest?”

  1. LOL!! I think the Lord is trying to tell me something. Here is my devotion this morning http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/crosswalk-devo/crosswalk-the-devotional-june-21-2011.html

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      I saw that you had tweeted that link … so I popped over and read it too. 🙂

  2. THANK YOU sister Teri Lynne, thank you! This post is exactly what I needed and is also very well written. I’ll be sharing it with many people.

    I need to rest, and I find myself fighting against those around me who want me to do more, to add to the list of things to do and expect that my ability to do lots is inexhaustible and that I secretly don’t want to rest!

    Finding my time with God in the mornings a wonderful way to start my days I find that those where it is interrupted or cut short are those where I struggle the most.

    Bright blessings,
    Shanyn

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Oh Shanyn, we all struggle in this area, I think. There’s always more to be done … but I’m so thankful for a God that calls us to rest.

  3. I loved your thoughts in your first paragraph. People do battle for the honor of being the least rested. You are so right. The mentality that I am more tired so therefore I must be more significant is crazy. Especially if the things were are pursuing are superficial. It’s when we slow down when God opens our eyes to the important things. Thanks.

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Ahh yes, the pursuit of superficial … I’ve been there (still there sometimes) and it’s hard to let go.

  4. How timely! My husband and I were just discussing how God has recently laid our busy Sundays on my heart and I’d really like to make a change. Our first thoughts were that we don’t have TIME to rest on Sundays–that’s one of only two days we get to be home to get stuff done! But the busyness takes away from us enjoying and absorbing our Sunday School and church time because our minds are already on to the next thing we HAVE to do after lunch.

    It will take some time to let go of our current mindset, but we’re going to move forward trying to make Sundays about faith, family, and fellowship. ONLY. Give ourselves permission to take a nap without feeling guilty about wasting time. Give ourselves permission to do our hobbies even though “important” stuff is still on the list. Give ourselves permission to mentally and emotionally REST and spiritually refresh.

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Such wisdom in that, Jamie. I’ll be going into more detail about what the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) looks like … and offering some ideas about how to incorporate some of the beauty of it into our own day of rest and worship.

  5. […] Why Rest? … From the beginning, God intended for us to rest.  He gave us His example of resting in Genesis, His commandment to rest in Exodus, and throughout Scripture we are called time and again to experience true rest in Him.    The call to rest  is a call to slow, and learning to heed that beckoning grows us closer to Him. […]

  6. […] needed to slow down, to be still … a sudden […]

  7. […] when I wrote about the need to slow?   Yeah, me too.  I only thought I was crazy busy this past summer with moving (twice) and […]

  8. […] … every. single. day.  I rush through life missing the blessings of the small.  I neglect the call to be still.  I fail to reach out to those in need.   I’m a sinner – a big one! – in […]

  9. […] … every. single. day.  I rush through life missing the blessings of the small.  I neglect the call to be still.  I fail to reach out to those in need.   I’m a sinner – a big one! – in […]

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