God modeled it. Jesus practiced it. We were created and commanded to incorporate it into our own lives.
So why do we so often buck the system?
Why do we insist we know best?
Why is it so hard to rest?
God Blessed Rest FOR Us
God blessed our rest in the second chapter of the Bible. Let that sink in just a bit. Of all the things He wants to tell us, this comes so close to the beginning. Right after He finished creating the world, He rested. And He blessed a day of rest for us. It was never intended to spawn a legalistic approach to our weekly schedules. He meant it as a gift. Perhaps He knew just how much we would need it even today.
God blessed a day of rest for us. (Mark 2:27)
He wants us to enjoy resting in His loving presence.
But all too often I feel too busy. I think I don’t deserve to take a breather because I haven’t completed my work. But like the rest of God’s gracious gifts to us, we don’t have to earn our rest, either.
Jesus knew this. So many people crowded around Him day in and day out. Mark 6:31 tells us He and His disciples didn’t even have a chance to eat because of the multitudes that came to Him for healing and teaching. The apostles were eager to tell him all of all they had accomplished in their travels. He was grieving the loss of his cousin John the Baptist.
Can you relate to skipping meals in the name of service? Or demands placed on your time by family and friends? Or the strain of grieving? I know I can.
Invited to Rest
I love what Jesus does next. He invited His friends to go away with Him by themselves to get some rest. Their work was far from finished, but He gave them a reprieve. To be fair, they don’t seem to have actually gotten to rest, as Jesus’ compassion for the crowd led him to then feed the 5,000. But it was His intent.
When my weekly To-Do List exceeds my capacity to complete, I hesitate to partake of God’s blessed gift of rest. In fact those are the times when I’m least likely to take time away. Yet a lack of rest significantly increases our chances of illness, injury, or exhaustion.
And nothing steals my Christmas joy faster.
Restore with Rest
Certainly being well rested each night and partaking of a weekly Sabbath go a long way toward providing the physical energy we need to tackle our tasks. Science proves that adequate sleep reduces stress. God’s Word says sacrificing sleep by working for food is in vain because “He grants sleep to those He loves (Psalm 4:8).”
Resting is not only an act of obedience, but also a sign of our trust in God’s provision and promises. We can rest because the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees our perfect restoration.
We don’t have to make the most beautiful cookies or buy just the right gifts or say exactly the right thing because more than 2,000 years ago God provided all we need. That is the joy of our salvation. The reason we celebrate Christmas.
But getting all tangled up in holiday stress quickly steals that from us.
Resting in the restoration of Jesus untangles the mess of holiday stress.
Will you accept His gift of rest or exchange it for a MESS of holiday stress?
“Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
For more insight on untangling the mess of holiday stress see these other posts:
Part 2: Fix Your Focus
Part 3: Fill Up Before You Fall Out
Part 4: Decide with Priorities Not Pride