Rest. What an elusive concept these days. Who has time to rest anymore? I mean, especially now with the holiday season upon us. There are gifts to wrap, meals to cook, homes to decorate, and red cups to debate (sorry, couldn’t resist that last one). For me, running the Las Vegas Center, teaching a Monday night class at UNLV, Bible Study on Tuesday nights, volunteering with Young Life and Leaders in Training on Fridays, and church on Sundays often leaves me with the thought that I have little time for myself and for others, let alone for God. But in seasons like this, when we believe the lie that we couldn’t possibly rest because there is so much to do, we need to rest all the more.
When we go, go, go and wear our busyness as a badge of pride, we are emptying our souls. We have nothing left to give. I often hear pastors refer to this as a “lack of margin”- the space between what we “have” to do and where we can rest is missing. When there is no margin in our lives, we refuse to be interrupted even by a divine appointment placed by God himself.
God calls us to rest. He in fact rested on what is known as the Sabbath. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from us. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:9-11).
Are we truly making every effort to enter into God’s rest? I know the stress of looking at your planner and getting overwhelmed at everything you “have” to accomplish. What if you scheduled time to rest, just as you schedule the other aspects of your calendar? Turn off the app notifications and limit your social media use (remember the days when it didn’t exist?). This insight from John Piper should jolt us out of complacency: “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
Rest looks different for each of us. Maybe rest is sitting around the dinner table with your family, phones away, and just enjoying each other’s company. Or maybe it’s walking around in nature and taking in all of God’s creation. Or perhaps it’s even a moment to indulge in a delicious cup of coffee while reading a book. But in the end, whatever it looks like, rest is filling up your soul and remembering all that God has done, and will do. So this Christmas season, I will take time to sit at home with my Bible and my coffee, reflecting on the words spoken in anticipation of the birth of Christ: “…do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”