Over the last few weeks I’ve had to speak about the Genesis story of creation with a variety of classes. There’s a few things that I have been picking out. Firstly every day God looks at everything and says “it’s good” not “it’s alright” or “it’s not too shabby” but “it’s good”. Secondly he didn’t need to create any of it but he wanted to, he chose to. Thirdly, on the final day he rested. Again, he didn’t rest because he was tired, he rested in order to enjoy what he had created.
Last year I made a decision, which has changed my life. That decision was that I was not going to do any school work on Saturdays. Saturday was going to be my day off. Don’t get me wrong, my Saturday’s are still usually very busy, whether that’s catching up with friends, tidying the house, making soup, visiting family, but I didn’t do school work. I take a rest from it. That means in a Sunday afternoon, once I’ve got back from church and had lunch, I have about 4-5 hours when I am focused and I actually get more done. I’ve been remote when I’ve got a lot to do, just to work that one Saturday, but then I stop myself, knowing that if I do it just that once I will do it again.
This has changed my life because it means I am enjoying the rest of my life. I have a day which enables me to rest and relax, to not be focused on the job, to not even think about it, but to cherish the life I have. I have a day off!
Rest is essential in any person’s life. It is what we need to help us to grow as people. If we work constantly we will burn out. We need to have time which is just for us, to do whatever it is we do to relax. That may be meeting up with friends, it may be playing a sport, it may be sitting watching a film, but it is for us.
God sets us the great example by resting on the seventh day, as I said, it wasn’t because he needed to, but it was because he wanted to enjoy his creation. God also knows us a bit too well and that brings us to the promise of this week, spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew
Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke.
God knows that we don’t always rest, and that sometime we feel that we can’t rest, until our bodies have given up on us. So he promises that if we go to him, he will give us rest. We live in a world where expectations are so high, that we often feel we have to be working constantly to meet those expectations. But actually we aren’t going to be effective if we don’t have rest.
There are so many tests that have been done that I could quote stressing the importance of rest, but I’m not going to. Instead I’m going to talk about chocolate! Mars got it right, you need to Work, Rest, and Play. All three are essential to a healthy, productive, successful life. But remember if you struggle to do any of these, then just make sure that you underpin all of these with pray!
God will provide what we need, and if we need rest then that is what God will provide.
Prayer: Father God we thank you that you chose to create us, and that you give us so many opportunities. We pray that you will give us the strength to recognise when we need to rest, and to see the opportunities that we have to rest, and to use those for your glory. Amen
Challenge: Work out what it is that you do to relax, look through your week ahead and fix in a time of rest. Then the challenge is to stick to it!