This week’s topic is that we need rest. We probably already know this is a physical and emotional reality, but it may surprise us to know God rests, and says we need it too. In fact, he commands rest in the first book of the Bible after God created the universe.
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3 ESV)
A few weeks ago, we saw that God worked, and that we were created to work with him. Now we see God rested. We are also created to rest with him…and share that rest with others.
To help, God gave a rhythm for rest and work. Six days of work, and one day of rest. It’s not equal, as work still outweighs rest. But it’s rhythmic and balances our need for creation and recreation.
God’s rest is the model for our rest. What is God’s rest like?
First, He stops creating. Producing, accumulating, moving, operating.
Clearly his work of sustaining continued – the earth kept spinning and the plants keep growing. But his work of creating takes a pause.
Secondly, he was satisfied with his work. It’s finished. Some things are complete, good, and need to ripen.
We can see these kinds of rest in us today – we need to kick our feet up and stop creating, and we also need to rest by enjoying and appreciating things like nature, art, music and more.
We’ll look in future weeks at how that looks in our context. But we won’t be suggesting this is about a particular day or practice that creates God’s favour and blessing in our lives. It’s about God having created us, knowing what we need, and giving it to us as a gift, if only we’d take it.
Question: What kind of creating do you do? It’s not just artists – people create order, learning, art, ideas, value, research, roads, buildings and more. What do you create?
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It can be very hard to find rest in our world. Between a Blackberry, kids, the home phone and social media, it can be hard to focus on anything, much less rest.
One study found that people who are interrupted by technology score 20 percent lower on a standard cognition test. A second demonstrated that some students, even when on their best behavior, can't concentrate on homework for more than two minutes without distracting themselves by using social media or writing an email.
We always wonder what we’re missing, what we should be doing, even when we’re supposed to be resting. With technology, we don’t have to suppress that – we can always know, we can always be available.
People say it’s harder and harder to unplug.
Even as I wrote this, I found myself turning to all kinds of distractions – it’s always when I try to focus on writing that I decide some amazing new change needs to be made to the app or social media. This makes it hard to work and rest – I’m constantly blending the two, and doing neither well as a result.
For this year’s vacation, I committed to turning my smartphone off, and only checking in once a day to make sure things are running smoothly with Redeem the Commute. I’ll have to physically make sure my phone isn’t around, because I know I’ll be tempted otherwise.
But that isn’t a foolproof formula – I can always go get my smartphone if I get too curious. Find rest can’t just be about strategies – because our problem is inside us. There is something inside me that is still wanting to check email, check the news, etc.
We’ll explore what that is, and what to replace it with this week.
Question: How do you “unplug” and rest? What strategies do you use?
Just in time for summer's blend of work and rest, Redeem the Commute is starting a new series of daily challenges to help busy people restore life to the commuting lifestyle. This seven week series will look at the meaning and purpose of work, rest, and ancient practices that have helped followers of Jesus to keep the two in perspective and balance for centuries.