The Rest of God: Sabbath

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:28-30.

Annually hosted by Samford’s University Ministry team, “Breathe Retreat” provided a 24-hour break from school for students simply needing separation from chaos. Having visited home that same weekend, I didn’t have the pleasure of attending, yet I benefited immensely from the teaching.

Rest has been a lesson the Lord’s been impressing on my continuously-planning mind. I thrive off accomplishing a “to-do list” item. I love organization. I literally never stop doing. Saying “yes” is easy until I find myself utterly worn out and in frantic need of rest.

A part of this teaching has filtered from my discipleship group in the book we’re walking through together [Building a Discipling Culture]. It elaborates on a handful of shapes that symbolize how to assess one’s spiritual life in a constructive way–one of them being a semi-circle.

Breen and Cockran, authors of this recommended book, describe the concept of rest as a swinging pendellum on a semi-circle. Life is a balance–always finding the intermediate mean between productivity and relaxation.

Yet, in American culture we have become “human “doings” rather than human “beings.”” We’re obssessed with goals, accomplishments, deadlines. And yes, we often attain them, but we grow weary in the process. We allow no room for rest because we translate rest as laziness.

But this should not be so. Escape with me to Mount Sinai, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments…

“For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord” – Exodus 35:2.

Why do we neglect this commandment? Somewhere down the line we’ve idolized productivity.

Let that not characterize us. If God commanded it, it’s got to be for a reason!

“We are to work from our rest, not rest from our work,” say Breen and Cockran. When we rest in the Lord, He provides energy for our task. If we don’t find our fuel in Him, who/what do we find it in? Our work? Lord, may our fuel be from You–life giver!

So yeah, this rest thing. Take a whole day off? In college? Unheard of!

Possible? Absolutely. Attainable? Yes. Every week? Debateable.

The teaching at Breathe Retreat encouraged my friends that as looming deadlines press in and nothing is ever quite finished, rest doesn’t have to wait until exams end. Rest means knowing when to stop even though things need to get done. By all means, be disciplined in completing assignments so that rest will be possible, but know that unless we’re energized and equipped by the Lord, our work will become burdensome.

Friend, I encourage you to rest. We extroverts often find that through meaningful conversation, and introverts often through peaceful alone time. In whatever form rest comes in, be sure to work it into your schedule and also give thanks for a commandment that brings your soul to life!

“I find rest in your presence and fullness of joy!”

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