A quote from an unknown source: “The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.” One of the greatest lessons that I’m learning from God is that rest is not a sin. Taking a break doesn’t mean you are lazy or that you are not valuable. Catching your breath now and then does not mean you are not carrying your load, or that you are less committed to your church, your company, or your calling.
I have learned that scheduling rest in BEFORE my calendar fills up is really the way to go. rest is jot an afterthought; it has to be a primary responsibility. It brings a rhythm back to life and a cadence that makes like sustainable. If you are tired, your soul gets weary. And if your soul gets weary, you are depleted more than you can afford. If you were a long distance runner there is a rule that is followed; every fifteen minutes you drink six ounces of water. Even if you are not thirsty you are not allowed to violate your hydration limits. Here’s the point – If you wait until you are thirsty to take a drink, it’s too late. Your body is already into dehydration. The same is true spiritually for your soul and your spirit.
This is why God gave us the gift of rest (the Sabbath). And, today it seems that we have a hard time accepting His extravagant gift. We somehow imagine that the world (or our family, our marriage, our company) won’t be able to go on without our involvement. There is simply too much to do and no time to rest. Yet God says: “You shall do no work at all… it is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls.” (Leviticus 23:31-32) Did you hear what it said? In this version of the commandment it tells us the reason for a time of rest – a sabbath. It is to “humble your soul.”
What does that mean? God is saying that if we wait until the work is done before we rest, we will never rest. The work will never be done! So even in the midst of the work, we have to cease and rest. Wow! You mean, we are not indispensable? This may be a really rude awakening. but the fact is the world will go on even if we are not involved for a day. Don’t think about this one too long, but the world will also go on even after we depart this life. I know it is difficult to contemplate, but it is true. When we rest at predesignated intervals, we are reminding ourselves that ultimately God controls the outcomes, not me or all of my wonderful efforts. It is good for us to wean ourselves off the need to be needed. For many, this would be the beginning of health.
In fact, if we violate the Sabbath rest, something morphs in our soul. We start to get proud, edgy, anxious. The psalmist tells us, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” (Psalm 127:2) God says, “Let Me humble your soul with rest. It is not all about you. I can get the work done even without you.” When we rest, God continues His work. When we reenter, it is with a humbled soul, hungry again for what He has called us to do. We return once again as a servant knowing that our Master can and did manage with us but that He is again offering us an opportunity to become involve din His work.
The lesson – drink in on regular intervals and stop driving yourself – take time to rest. In short form: Drink … Don’t Drive!