Aug 282017 0 Responses

It’s Not About “Me-Time”

Rest is not about you. Yes, you need it. Yes, you can’t function properly without it. But it’s not about you. Its end game is not simply to make you better. While most ignore the need for rest, leading to exhaustion, some have their eyes opened to its importance, but then immediately make it about them. They call it self-care.

We live in a day where the phrase “I’ve got to take care of me” is the new way to get out of service to others. Rest is seen solely as a self-serving action. While rest does make the individual better that is not its only purpose…and it’s not its primary purpose.

3 Reasons for Rest

1. Rejuvenation. Rest does restore energy. We are created to work and then rest because without the downtime, we wouldn’t be able to function. An aspect of the word-history of rest is to stand still, as in what one would do after walking a mile. Walk a mile, stand-still, and then walk another mile. Without consistent down times, we will not possess the energy needed for each day.

Yet that energy isn’t about us; it’s about others. It’s about possessing the resources necessary to love and serve others. When rest is made primarily about us, it’s easy to either ignore it (because we think we are only hurting ourselves) or to make the rest extremely self-indulgent (it doesn’t matter what we do because it’s all about us.) Neither are accurate portrayals. We need to rest so our energy is restored and we can better function in a community of love and service. You shouldn’t rest in the way that brings you the most personal satisfaction, but you should rest in the manner that provides the most rejuvenation for the sake of others.

When we think of rest, we often only think of it in this first concept. For a Christian, however, two more vital aspects are at play. Our model from rest is from God in the week of Creation. God clearly doesn’t need to rejuvenate energy or to recover from the expense of effort. Yet he rested on the seventh day. In part, he likely did so to model for us how we should live. But His resting also reminds us of two other elements.

2. Celebration. The simplest explanation of why God rested on the seventh day was in order to enjoy what he had done. His rest was an act of celebration. He calls His people to break from the endless cycle of production, to pause, and to enjoy what they have. While production focuses on what could be, celebration focuses on what is. It’s a gratitude for those things we already have.

In the same way that God stopped his work to celebrate, he calls us to do the same. He invites us into a time where we live in his completed work. We appreciate everything he has done and given to us. We seek out the good and live in it. When we fail to rest, we fail to recognize all the things God has already done for us.

3. Proclamation. Stopping our work not only restores our energy, it also proclaims to us and others our dependence upon God. It’s an announcement to the world that we stand in need. It’s a reminder to ourselves of our feeble natures. When God commanded the nation of Israel to honor the Sabbath, he knew it would be a dramatic sign of His people living a different way of life. In a world of continuous production, God’s people would be defined by a ceasing of labor in order to celebrate and give thanks for what they have.

When we fail to rest, we are missing an opportunity to announce the greatness of God–to ourselves and to others.

Rest is not about you. Yes, you are the one who needs it, but its ultimate purpose is not just for your behalf. When we rest well, we are loving others well and serving God well. When we fail to recognize our need for rest, we are not only failing ourselves, but failing God.


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