“Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” Exodus 23:12
“In the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land.” Leviticus 25:4
“Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.” Genesis 18:4
"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
God promises us rest. We are such an achievement oriented culture that we seldom consider that something is actually being accomplished while we rest. John Bingham, an American marathon runner and author, wrote:
Resting is not doing nothing. Resting is giving the body a chance to recoup, to renew itself, and ultimately to rebuild itself into a body that will move faster or farther. The rest phase is the only time that the body has to bring itself up to your expectations. The training effect that we all want, the changes in our body’s ability to handle the stress of running occurs during the rest phase not the activity phase. The adaptation process takes place while you are resting. The days when you don’t run are the days when your body incorporates the new strength needed for the next run
God has built into our world the need for rest. I often hear people brag about how they do not need much sleep or how they work seven days a week. Our worth does not go up because we do not rest. Even land that produces food has to rest. There must be periods of rest built into the cycles of planting and harvesting or the crops will begin to diminish. People also need times of refreshment. This is why we enjoy the hospitality of others—good food and a time to renew our strength is being provided in a caring way.
Summer is upon us. One of the mistakes I see people do with vacations is that they drive a long way and then try to cram in as much as possible into every moment. Are we addicted to a frantic pace? Are we being tempted to make up for lost time? We must learn to be in the moment, to savor the present, and to accept the gift of rest. This is one reason for worship.
Sometimes we need to sit in God’s presence. We need to let go of being Super-servant, Super-thinker, Super-parent, Super-grandparent, Super-leader, Super-worker. God’s presence gives rest—our minds can slow down; over-responsibility can be set aside as we trust that God can and will sustain life. Even during the work day, it can be helpful to rest between tasks. We do not need to rush into the next problem. Take a moment to get a glass of water. Go for a brief walk and express gratitude to God for the last concluded effort.