Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31 (New Living Translation)
I love deadlines. I’m never more productive than when I feel the pressure of the clock approaching zero hour. God’s gift of adrenaline has carried me through home repairs, parenting challenges, and (surprisingly) graduate school.
A little bit of stress is good for you, but no matter the size of the mountain you have summited on any given day, it’s tough to deny the euphoria that comes when you’re finally able to put your feet up and rest.
It turns out that a little bit of rest is good for you, too.
Rest. For many of us, it’s a seemingly unattainable prize. As I read through the Gospels, I am intrigued by the relaxed pace which Jesus lived. I’ve not come across a passage where Jesus was in a hurry. Even when Lazarus, one of Jesus’ closest friends, was on his deathbed, Jesus wasn’t in a hurry to get to Bethany.
How is it that Jesus was able to accomplish so much while taking time to rest? I think we’ve become so accustomed to an overly busy lifestyle that we cannot even fathom the idea of rest, nor can we think about where to fit a few minutes of downtime in our hectic schedules.
Yet, rest is important. If you’re like me, you’ll need some convincing. So what are some of the benefits of rest? Experts have determined that when you set aside regular periods of rest, you:
- Make better decisions. When your body is constantly on the move, your brain is always along for the ride. As you rest your mind, you’re able to clear out the clutter that most often forces you to impulsively react to problems. Instead, you have time to weigh the consequences and potential outcomes of decisions. A rested mind is a sharp mind.
- Reap physical benefits. Studies show that rest decreases blood pressure, allows your body to manage pain more effectively, and improves your immune system. In other words, rest allows your body to repair from the day’s damage.
- Think creatively. Stress and busyness cause us to adopt static responses to challenges. When you’re rested, you free your mind to explore creative solutions to life’s challenges or find new ways to accomplish everyday tasks.
- Become easier to live with. In seasons of life when I’m overwhelmed with responsibilities (usually because I’ve overcommitted myself – I’m my own worst enemy!), I live my entire life in “task mode”. That’s fine if I’m working through a to-do list, but not at all good if I’m spending time with my family. When I’m rested, I am able to prioritize and pay attention to the things that are most important. Healthy emotional relationships with my family and friends take time to cultivate – don’t sacrifice them because you’ve taken on too much responsibility.
- Live like Jesus. Just like rest has important benefits for your physical self, rest is required for a healthy spiritual self. Jesus practiced this principle. He managed to set aside times of rest, whether to be alone or to spend time relaxing with His disciples. By “recharging” His spiritual, physical, and emotional batteries, He set an example for you to follow.
For much of my life these days, I’ve been too busy for my own good. I’ve been blinded by busyness, and instead of overachieving, I’m actually accomplishing less and diminishing my quality of life.
God designed us to rest. We need rest for our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We need to intentionally seek solitude and peace. God has big plans for you–don’t miss out because you’re exhausted from other (and less important) pursuits.
As you rest for your labors this Monday, spend some time with God. Ask Him to help you prioritize your life so you can focus on what matters most. Set aside times to rest in His goodness. Reflect on His plans and promises for you. Enjoy His creation as you contemplate His Word.
Rest well, my friends.
Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. Psalm 116:7 (New Living Translation)
What I need to remember:
- INVEST AND INVITE. We’re moving to two services (9:00 and 10:30) on Sunday, September 11. Begin praying now for 3 people you will invite to join you at The Church @ Clayton Crossings. Pray for your relationship, your conversation, and for their salvation.
- LORD’S SUPPER. We’re going to observe the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, September 18 in both services.
- BAPTISM Our next baptism is scheduled for both services on Sunday, September 25. Allow your church family to celebrate the transformation Jesus has made in your life. Sign up for more info here.
What I’m reading:
Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them by George Barna and David Kinnaman.
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to lead people to find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.
Let’s be friends: