I have always had a problem sitting still—always. In fact, I used to actually lay on my stomach at night and bump my head on my pillow until I went to sleep. (When I got married Lucretia insisted that this needed to stop.) Resting, slowing down, whatever you want to call it has always been a major issue for me.
Needless to say yesterday was tough. For those who may not know the office at New Spring was closed yesterday in observance of Memorial Day. People have asked me, “Hey, what did you do.” Here is the answer—I rested, which is, once again, tough for me to do.
I came to the realization about two years ago that I needed to get more rest in my life. I had been “wheels off” for about three years—when you plant a church with a lot of passion but very few people and even fewer resources you are sort of obligated to do everything. I was so proud of myself—working seven days a week—many times 10-12 hours a day—I just knew God was proud of me.
And then I realized how ungodly I was because I did not rest.
A couple of things hit me pretty hard.
#1 – I was teaching as series through the 10 commandments and I discovered something. Most of the commandments are pretty cut and dry and need very little explanation, for example, most of us get, “Do not kill.” But if you will pay careful attention to the 10 commandments you will notice that the one God gives the most attention to, the one He goes into the most detail explaining is the one on rest—He’s pretty serious about this.
I used to argue that the devil never took a day off—neither should I…until someone pointed out to me that the devil was not to be my example. If I was going to try to be more like Jesus then I needed to follow His commands and follow His lead—which leads me to my second point.
#2 – Jesus rested! This fact was made clear to me in reading a book by Max Lucado entitled, And The Angels Were Silent. He has a chapter in this book that challenges the reader to go to Scripture and look at the last week that Jesus spend on the planet. He points out that you can find that Jesus did something every single day of the week…except for Sunday—there is nothing anywhere in Scripture saying that Jesus did work on the Sabbath. If the Son of God could find time to rest on the last week of Him being physically present on the planet—then shouldn’t we find the time as well?
There is a very familiar story in Scripture about Jesus getting on a boat & going to sleep. All of a sudden a storm develops and the disciples freak out—but Jesus is still sleeping. I have heard many explanations as to why—and to be frank I think most of them are ridiculous. Seriously, people try to over spiritualize this passage. I have heard, “Jesus slept because He knew God was in control.” True, He did know God was in control. But please go to the Scriptures before the storm passage and you will discover something amazing—Jesus had been working hard, ministering to people, casting out demons, putting up with religious idiots. So He withdrew and slept. Why? BECAUSE HE WAS TIRED! And what did He do when He got tired? He rested—just like God Himself did on the 7th day of creation. God modeled it—Jesus modeled it…and we are to follow it.
I know rest is difficult—especially for me; however, I believe if we are going to strive to be like Jesus then we must strive to rest & refresh ourselves often.