And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
We pride ourselves on being busy people.
On accomplishing and making things happen.
We can’t stop, because life just wouldn’t go on if we were not pushing and striving every moment of every day.
Rest is for the weaklings, the lazy. Right?
But that is not what Jesus taught His disciples. He taught the importance of breaking away from everyday demands to rest. He called them away from the crowds to reconnect with the Father. He offered them time for restoration.
God gave this same lesson to Elijah after he had stood against the false prophets of Baal. I Kings 19 tells the story of what happened. Even though Elijah had stood firm in his obedience to God when he faced the test of the false prophets, he ran when Jezebel threatened his life.
God did not berate Elijah. Instead, He provided rest and nourishment until Elijah was able to hear His voice. God recognized Elijah’s depleted physical state.
Christians are not immune to fatigue, nor is tiredness a sin. There are times that we simply need to rest.
Today, after a busy day at work, I took a few minutes to drive to a beach not far from my home. I went just to see the water and enjoy the quiet for a few moments. I allowed my mind to focus on God’s creation instead of on my ‘to do’ list.
For just a few moments, I was apart from my everyday.
Taking small vacations in the middle of our mess helps us reconnect to what is truly important and allows us to put the pressures we face in the perspective of eternity.
A moment to notice a butterfly or a caterpillar, to truly relish the laugh of a child, to accept the smile of a stranger or friend, is a moment that can exponentially increase the joy of life. And as we read in Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Rest, respite, is a part of living intentionally. It won’t keep us from being productive; it will allow us to walk with the Lord to be effectively productive.
Life is hard. That is a given. But God did not call us to a life of drudgery; He called us to a life in His presence. So, come apart with Him….before you just simply come apart (at the seams).
Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Matthew 11: 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Happy Labor Day!