Following the sixth day of creation, the Lord God deliberately stopped working. He rested. It wasn’t that there was nothing else He could have done. It certainly wasn’t because He was exhausted. Omnipotence never gets tired! He hadn’t run out of ideas, for omniscience knows no mental limitations. He could easily have made more worlds, created an infinite number of other forms of life, and provided multiple millions of galaxies beyond what He did.
But He didn’t. He stopped.
He spent an entire day resting. In fact, He “blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,” something He did not do on the other six days. He marked this one day off as extremely special. Like none other. Sounds to me like He made the day on which He rested a “priority” period of time.
If we intend to “be imitators of God,” as Ephesians 5:1 suggests, we, too, will need to make rest a priority.
- A good night’s rest on a regular basis
- A full day’s rest at least once a week
- Moments of rest snatched here and there during the week
- Vacation times of rest for the refreshment and repair of both body and soul
- A release from the fierce grip of intense stress brought on by daily hassles
Tell me, why do we have such a hard time with this? I’d like to suggest that several things contribute to our lack of inner rest:
- Failure to give play, fun, rest, and leisure a proper place of dignity.
- Our strong tendency to compete and compare, leading to a wholesale dissatisfaction with things as they are.
- Our preoccupation with always wanting more and self-imposed guilt . . . unrealistic expectations.
- Our long-time “heredity habit” of the all-work-and-no-play-will-make-me-happy philosophy of life.
The result? Look around. Stretched across the faces of most Americans driving to and from work is boredom. Not fulfillment. Not a deep sense of satisfaction. Not even a smile of quiet contentment.
Even though our work-week is decreasing and our weekend time is increasing, our country lacks inner peace. External leisure does not guarantee internal rest, does it?
Sure, we have more time on our hands. But meaningful “rest” in the biblical sense of the term? No way!
I suggest you and I do more than wag our heads at the problem. That helps nobody! Our greatest contribution to the answer is a radical break with the rut of normal living.
Change your routine, my friend. Blow the dust of boredom off your schedule. Shake yourself loose and get a taste of fresh life. Need several suggestions to add “zip” to your leisure?
- Begin jogging and/or an exercise program.
- Get a CD of your favorite music or your MP3 player and lie down flat on your back, drinking in the sounds.
- Start writing letters of encouragement to people you appreciate.
- Dig around in the soil, plant a small garden, and watch God cooperate with your efforts.
- By the way, don’t miss those sunrises and sunsets, or the smells along with the sights.
Broaden your world. Kick away the thick, brick walls of tradition. Silence the old enemy Guilt, who will sing his same old tune in your ears. And work on that deep crease between your eyes. Look for things to laugh at . . . and laugh out loud. It’s biblical! “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).