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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Are you on vacation? If not, picture yourself there. If it helps, picture some vacation advertisements – a family walking on the beach hand in hand. A hammock and cold drink. A mountain, or a city, or whatever means rest to you!
It feels good, doesn’t it? It’s proven: in a study published in Journal of Occupational Medicine. Three days after vacation participants reported fewer physical complaints, a more positive mood, and better sleep.
But vacation can’t solve everything. The study found the big picture of life unchanged from vacation. There was no change to general life-satisfaction. Five weeks after the end of vacation only the extent of physical complaints was still significantly smaller as compared to the pre-vacation level. Everything else was back to normal. http://occmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/50/3/167.full.pdf
So how do we really rest, if hopping on a plane, renting a cottage or vegetating at home just aren’t enough?
It means clearing our heads and hearts, but not by zoning out, bur rather by focusing them on something else….God!
We asked some people: what helps you clear your head on vacation?
Question: What helps you clear your head on vacation? How long does it take to distance yourself from work?
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.