7 Reasons You Should Rest Today!
Re-post: Few people take a day off in today’s culture to rest. The ones that actually do commit to resting are seen as oddballs. Case in point: when mentioning online recently that I did nothing all day, a friend commented, “Just don’t make a habit of it.” Whah? It’s sort of counter-cultural to stop for a day. It’s always been tough for me.
One of my commitments is to take a day of rest every week to re-focus. I made this decision while creating a spiritual growth plan for my life this past year. It has been the toughest, yet most rewarding decision of my life when I’m able to keep the commitment. If you are a performer like me or have a bunch of little ones, it may be extremely tough for you to rest! Still, you need to take care of yourself. Here are some reasons you should take a day of rest every week to focus on God (Even if you are not a believer, there are plenty of benefits to resting one day a week). Get Busy Resting! 7 Reasons You should Rest Today:
1. You have permission to rest. In the Old Testament, the Bible called the day of rest and focus a Sabbath. In the Jewish nation, it was the most defining practice for that day. It is what set them apart from everyone else. The Sabbath commandment was the longest of the ten commandments. If you don’t believe in the Bible, I give you permission to rest!
2. Jesus made the Sabbath even better. Jesus was hammered for occasionally breaking the Sabbath laws, but he told the Jews they were missing the point. He said, “I didn’t come to break the law, but to fulfill it.” So, instead of making the Sabbath day a legalistic practice (which is what it had become for many of the Jews), we are called instead to focus on the real reason of the Sabbath- to focus on God.
3. The early church helped set the stage for us. For Christians, this one day of the week became Sunday during the first centuries of the church. It was a day for honoring God. Ignatius, one of the church fathers spoke of early Christians as “no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in observance of the Lord’s Day.” (Letter to the Magnesians, 9) It became a day not just for rest, but for spiritual focus.
4. It reminds us that we are not in charge. A day of focus on God reminds us that we are ultimately not in control, even though we often believe otherwise. When we force ourselves to be still to contemplate and honor God, we are sort of put back in our right state.
5. It reminds us that God is provider. During the ancient exodus from Egypt, Jews were commanded to gather twice as much food on the day before the Sabbath, so that they could rest on the day that was set aside for Him. It instilled a huge trust in God. Today, when we stop and reflect, we are reminded that He is the ultimate provider, not us.
6. It reminds us that we are set aside for God, to be different. When we take a day all the way off, our minds are rested and focused again on God. Our bodies are rested and renewed. We are reminded that we are to be different than the world. We are reminded again to change the world.
7. Even creation rests. In biblical times, Israelites were commanded to let the land rest (fallow) every seven years so that the soil could be replenished. This ancient practice set the stage for much of the modern crop rotations that still live today. We are no different than the soil when it comes to resting. Without a weekly day of rest and re-focus, we become like stressed soil: depleted of the nutrients and health that yield a productive life. If all of creation needs rest, why wouldn’t you?
So what do you do on a day of re-focus and rest? What other observations do you have that I didn’t talk about? We’d love to hear. Come back next weekend for more thoughts on resting!
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