Last week we talked about the value of work before rest. But the converse is true as well. Rest is necessary for the mind, body and soul so that we can return to productive and creative work.
How do we experience that rest? Our society puts a high value on leisure time. In fact, billions are spent on the pursuit of entertaining activities. However leisure isn’t always the same as rest. Our summers, weekends, even our evenings can get packed with activity. Some of these activities have positive value but they keep the mind and body busy. Why the relentless pursuit of leisure? Maybe because we find ourselves still restless so we look for a new activity to try and fill that need.
Our minds need time to be unstructured and quiet. Do we turn off the devices and stop input long enough to get bored, to allow our minds to wander and question and form new insights? Gardening or walking the dog is restful for me – and when I turn off the podcasts or phone, I think of things I haven’t considered in a long time.
Rest for the body is important. We need a time to recharge and heal. Rest for the mind is valuable to generate creativity and insight. And rest for the soul, to be silent and listen for God, is critical.
God called us to rest. Sabbath is not just a command, but also a gift. Our Jewish friends have spent millennia defining and debating rest. It is so important that they count steps, automate buttons, and prepare the day’s food ahead.
I don’t want to define it – but are you getting true rest?
I said last week that I want to be diligent in my work, but I also want to be judicious in my leisure to make sure I do have time to rest. We note the patterns that God gave us in Sabbath, to work and then rest. And then return refreshed and restored to work, the creative and productive work He has given us to delight in.
In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15