Rest for work does not sound intuitive. I’ll admit it was an idea that was new for me but one I wanted to share as we head into th weekend. The last few days we’ve talked about how Jesus Set Us Free to Rest, which should empower to develop a Rhythm of Rest in our lives. For many of us, work can be so draining or laborious that our breaks from work are less of a recharge point and more of an escape. We work for rest rather than working from rest. We view weekends and holidays or any time not working as simply an isolation from chaos rather than a launching pad for vitality.
I remember working at Starbucks and having to wake up at 4:00 am each morning in order to get to work at 4:30. I don’t always remember what happened from the time I got there until the store opened but I do remember being exhausted each day getting home at 1:00 pm only to have to go to school and write papers until 10:00 each night. Days off stopped being times that I would use to do the things in rest that fueled me, like riding my bike, writing, reading. Instead, they were excuses to not do anything at all except maybe sleeping in a little. This turned out to be horrible for me because I found myself working for rest, just trying to get through each week, just trying to make it every day.
What if we stopped working for rest and began resting for work?
What if we spent as much time preparing for rest as we did preparing for work?
There’s a story in Exodus where God explains to Moses how He wants Israel to treat the Sabbath day, the day of rest and celebration. It’s in Exodus 16v22-26 and v30, all before God gives Israel the law.
Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two oemers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a Sabbath observance, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath there will be none.
16v30: so the people rest on the seventh day.
Rest for Work, Not From It
As you head into your weekend, spend some time preparing for rest. No one knows you more than you. No one knows what fuels your heart and soul and breathes life back into you more than you do. Maybe it’s spending time with God in the Scriptures. Maybe it’s a good movie. Maybe it’s a trip to the beach, the forest, the desert, the Philippines, or the park. Maybe it’s a huge barbecue or a cup of coffee at a local shop. Maybe it’s planting a garden or writing a blog. Maybe it’s building a fence or building a fort. Whatever it is, plan for it.
If we are going to work with excellence, with hope, with excitement, with energy, with life, and with love, we need to rest in Jesus. If we are going to work from rest then we need to rest for work. I cannot emphasize enough how ripe the world is for seeing people of faith living their lives with the enjoyment of God evident in everything we do. I am becoming more and more convinced that it is not the world that must first transformed by Jesus but ourselves that must first be continually transformed by the gracious gospel of Jesus.
This weekend, may you find the inspiration you need to begin creating a rhythm of rest in your life, living in the freedom Jesus has freely given you, in order to start resting for work. May you find yourself revitalized in your rest. May you find a renewed passion for life in your rest. May you find Jesus in your rest. May rest fuel the life you live.