We’re taking the Bible book-by-book at my church this year. There’s no skipping to the most beloved and quoted verses. There’s no ignoring the hard to pronounce books in the Old Testament, or reading only the parts that make you feel good.
I love that.
There’s always been something about the story arc of scripture that has drawn me in – and those “a ha” moments when a great Bible teacher can connect the dots between the Old Testament and the New Testament have been some of my favorite experiences. Nothing in scripture is accidental, meaningless, or without purpose. And that is beautiful.
Lately God has been impressing on my heart this recurring theme of rest. The kind of rest that comes after a season of hard work. He knows I struggle with this idea because rest often feels like wasted time to me, and I hate wasting time. If I find myself with free time I look around for a new project, a new idea, for some activity to fill that space.
I guess it makes me feel important to always be so busy.
But what it really does is go against what God has asked us to do – and the example He set from the very beginning. Work hard, then rest. In Genesis it was working for six days and resting the seventh. Later it was working the land for six years and letting it rest for the seventh. Because God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that when something was asked to produce that much for that long, it would need a break or it would cease to yield a fruitful crop.
And when the Israelites stopped honoring God’s plan for rest, He took the land away and let it rest for all the years it deserved before it was returned.
In my own refusal to rest, I wonder what God has allowed to be taken captive in my life as a way to force rest in other areas? Has He closed doors or hidden opportunities from me because I hadn’t given His creation (me) a time to rest? What chaos am I currently feeling because God will find a way for His “land” to rest, regardless of my actions? Those are hard questions, and I’m not sure I’ve fully processed the answers.
But I know this. God is faithful and good. He is a loving Father who sets boundaries on our lives to keep us safe, strong, and able to do the work He has planned for us. My refusal to slow down and rest sends the message that I know better than God, and that’s horribly hard to write.
Let’s have rested hearts ready for blessings instead of bodies on the verge of burnout.
Work hard at the tasks God has placed before you this week, friends. But then rest. Stop producing and spend time giving your heart and your body what it needs to be fruitful when the work starts again. Don’t let opportunities be taken captive in your refusal to take a break – trust that in that down time, God will never stop preparing you for what He has next.