Why Rest Matters

May 20, 2021

God commanded the Israelites to rest by instituting the "sabbath day".  Does that mean anything for us in our day and age?  Why should we rest and what does that look like?  Here are a few thoughts on why rest matters:

1. God commands rest to help us to remember that He is our source.
Exodus 34:21
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

Choosing to intentionally rest is saying to God that we trust Him to provide for us.  It's a declaration that we believe that God will do what He says He will do. In Exodus 8:20 God commands, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God."

You can think of God's command to rest as a tithe of your time. We're all given 7 days to work, but God says he wants 1 of those days. Just as in the tithing of our finances, where we give God 10%-believing that God will bless us and provide for us, we can give God 1 day of the 7 we have-believing that we'll be able to do and accomplish everything we need to with God's help.  

2. God commands rest to give us space to seek Him and enjoy Him.
Ex 31:13
"And the Lord said to Moses, 'Say to the people of Israel, You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.'”

It's important to realize that when God commands us to rest, it's not an aimless, unplug your brain kind of rest.  While we should make an effort to unplug and disconnect, it's not meant to be a vacation from the cultivation of our relationship with God.  Days of rest should be intentional, deliberate times to rest from our work and remember the goodness of God in our lives.

3. God commands rest so we can remember that he is our Savior.
Duet 5:15
"You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day."

The command of God to rest is a special sign to us that God has chosen us and set us apart. We can use this day of rest to recharge-physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Our rest should inspire gratitude and thankfulness in our hearts as we reflect on and enjoy the special work of God in our lives and the "joy of [our] salvation." (see Psalm 51:12)

4. Our rest is a gift!
Isa 58:13-24
"If you turn back your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth."

Sometimes we focus on the fact that we have to rest like it’s a negative thing.  In reality, God's command for us to rest is a gift!  Accept the gift of one day of rest a week.  Humble yourself to believe that you need it.  Your wealth, significance and your advancement in life depend far more on God's work than on your work.  (see Psalm 75:6)

Practical Suggestions
1.  Remember that there is a difference between seeking God and ministry.
2.  Talk to your spouse.
3.  Become an expert at time management.
4.  Figure out what recharges you.
5.  Have a “tech-free” day.
6. Remember that promotion comes from the Lord.
7.  In seasons of business, make rest a greater priority.
8.  Use all of your vacation time.
9. Pray

What are some practical ways that you have learned to rest?