I once worked with somebody who never took vacations. This was a point of pride for her; if you asked her why, she would explain that there was so much work that needed doing that she simply couldn’t justify taking any time off. While she never said it in so many words, her words contained the not-so-subtle suggestion that people who went on vacations took their work less seriously than they ought.
At the time, I was impressed by her dedication. In retrospect, her refusal to ever rest seems like a pretty questionable choice. Most of us would probably affirm the value of peroidically taking time away from our tasks to rest and recharge. But in this Daily Strength devotional, Joe Stowell reminds us that resting isn’t just a practical decision; it’s a spiritual mandate:
…for some reason, we sometimes seem apologetic about taking time off or needing a change of pace for a little while. It may be that our internal understanding of a real â€œwork ethicâ€ demands that we feel a little guilty about time that weâ€™re not being â€œproductiveâ€ or â€œefficient.â€ Or maybe we are concerned that those projects and clients we have been carefully nurturing along will fall to pieces if we put them on hold for a week or two. Maybe we are distorting Paulâ€™s words to the Ephesians, resisting vacations and working nonstop so that we can â€œmake the most of every opportunity, because the days are evilâ€ (Ephesians 5:16)….
Reason number one: itâ€™s commanded in Scripture. The fourth commandment tells us to â€œremember the Sabbath day by keeping it holyâ€ (Exodus 20:8). That means more than just going to church on Sunday. The principle of â€œSabbathâ€â€”rooted in Godâ€™s example through creation of resting on the seventh dayâ€”intertwines with the Old Testament law code.
Occasional rest isn’t the enemy of a successful job, nor is it a disruption of your Christian walk. On the contrary, it’s an integral part of a balanced life.
Do you feel the temptation to never stop for a rest, perhaps worrying that taking a break is a violation of your “work ethic”? If you’ve been working too hard for too long and are starting to feel the strain of overwork, perhaps it’s time for a prayerful pause.