I’ll never forget my first trip to Haiti over 10 years ago with my husband, Joel, and sister in law, Liz. We came to assist a pastor friend of ours who has a ministry primarily focused on prayer, teaching, and worship.
Our days were full as we traveled to various locations for ministry opportunities. The heat was extreme, we were on our feet most of the day, and we didn’t rest much.
We were told that the next day would be our “day off” – a Sabbath Day. But, we reasoned, we were only in Haiti a short time and surely we could be of use to someone that day. So we trudged over to a nearby construction project that was taking place and began to work.
The result was a clear exercise in futility. There wasn’t much organization and nothing we did seemed to help. After a few hours, we politely retreated as Liz wisely concluded, “We just need to take our Sabbath.”
Dallas Willard has said, “The command is “Do no work.” Just make space. Attend to what is around you. Learn that you don’t have to DO to BE. accept the grace of doing nothing. Stay with it until you stop jerking and squirming.”
1) Choose to set aside a day of rest each week to stop the “jerking and squirming.” Our culture seems to be worse about this than any other. We have a moment of peace and we grab our mobile devices, eager to occupy time. To fight this urge to constantly keep taking in new information is to gain time to reflect, observe, give thanks, unwind.
2) Choose a day of rest to gain more margin and allow yourself time to just “be” instead of “do”– As Mark Buchanan has said, “Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”
If we spend every day of the year striving to work, earn, impact, and create we don’t have any time to step back and admire what we have done. We don’t have time to just sit and watch it grow.
3) Choose a day of rest to take your hands off your life and let God give the growth. As 1 Corinthians 3:7 says so beautifully, “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
4) Choose a day of rest to give your mind and body the break they need. Many Americans are sleep deprived and over-stimulated. As John Piper said, “Now I think that the principle in the New Testament is that God ordains that one day in seven be restful. I think that’s a creation ordinance for our good, for our health.”
My last reason should have been first because it is truly the most important.
5) Choose a day of rest to set aside time for God. While the rest of our week is full of work and activity, our day of rest can include more of that which nourishes our spirit and soul: quiet, rest, time in God’s Word, time worshipping with other believers.
Do you set aside a day of rest each week? If so, what have you done to make this day different from the rest of the week? I would love to hear!
photo by Jimmy Brown