One of the privileges of working with young people is that there is always something you can learn from them if you only pay attention. You have to be engaged and alert or you will miss out on some neat experiences they live. One of the things I tease our students about, either at the Academy or the elementary school, is when I say “good morning” during chapel and their response is so weak… “what is wrong with you today?”, -we are tired, pastor- Ask college students how they are doing and the common response: “I’m so tired." We either are so busy with school, work and even our social life that we so easily dismiss the fact that an important aspect for our health to be at its maximum is REST.
Rest has to be very important for our overall well-being since God established rest as part of His perfect law when He wrote the 10 commandments. God must have known that we needed time apart from the daily "toil" of life when He set aside a day for us to spend with Him, disconnected from all of the labors, responsibilities, and activities of our daily lives.
Why do we neglect such an important element? The government has set up laws in the workplace to make sure that employers do not abuse the workers demanding non-stop work for an extended time period; therefore the breaks regulated for every set of hours worked. Rest is not only a reward for our labor, but it is also needed in the middle of our labors. It is a time to stop, renew, refocus, refresh, revitalize and regain the momentum to keep going. Rest does not always equal sleep, it is the coming apart from our hurried and frantic lives to stop and divert our attention to something else.
As important as sleep is, rest goes beyond the hours we dedicate to sleeping... English Biologist John Lubbock said, "Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmuring of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky is hardly a waste of time."
When tiredness comes over every part of you, it might not just be your body asking for sleep, it might be your soul asking for a respite.
You can rest by taking a moment to count your blessings in the middle of difficult times.
You can rest by slowing down to "smell the roses," literally! And seeing them, maybe for the first time, as an awesome part of God’s creation.
You can rest by helping others and volunteering your talents and time.
You can rest by stopping and taking the time to talk to God about all that hurries and worries you.
You can rest by knowing that all your plans are in God’s hand and that together you can both tackle anything that comes your way.
Even Jesus took time away from His most important work to rest and get away from the people. “But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to a place[a] where we can be alone and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (CEV) He needed the time to keep the connection between Him and His Father. He knew where to find His strength and even though He could have spent every available minute in ministry he took time to rest (in the boat), fellowship (at a wedding), work (at the carpenter shop), study (at the temple), preach (using parables) and minister (in his healing).
Rest is not something that can be bottled or harnessed. If it were it would be sold by the millions to those looking and searching for the rest that quenches the tiredness of their soul. Tiredness that goes beyond physical weariness cannot be satisfied with just some extra sleep. We need to find a balance between what we must do as students, friends, employees, and children of God. When we learn how to draw the line to balance the time we spend at work, at study, at play and at sleep we will find the formula for rest.
God calls us to come apart with Him and He offers us rest in exchange.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 (ISV) says "Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest…"
All of us can get the rest we need to keep going and achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. We can find that rest in the Giver of all good things as we learn to balance our responsibilities putting the time we set aside with God each day as a top priority.