Today’s devotional: too busy to rest?

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 “work ethic” demands that we feel a little guilty about time that we’re not being “productive” or “efficient.” 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 Paul’s words to the Ephesians, resisting vacations and working nonstop so that we can “make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16)….

Reason number one: it’s commanded in Scripture. The fourth commandment tells us to “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). That means more than just going to church on Sunday. The principle of “Sabbath”—rooted in God’s example through creation of resting on the seventh day—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.

4 Responses to “Today’s devotional: too busy to rest?”

  • Chuckles says:

    Too busy to rest: Though I am alive that statement is on one of my epitaths as I have traveled thru life with the Holy Ghost – shedding dead stuff over and over again. . Please Please Please TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. This testimony is mine though I did not write it. I will add that I thought sleeping was a waste of time. How absolutely stupid – no – stuuuupiiid is that. I am now almost 60 years old. My memory – long and short term is pitiful to non-existent. My ability to focus comes and goes. And sudden – mind bending – knee buckling – spells of profound fatique – racing thoughts – deep dark depression plague me all my days and nights. I was stubborn – I was driven – I had three children to raise in the “hood”. I had to work and work hard at the job and then the church and then…. home. Finally I hit rock bottom at age 42 and I’m still looking, praying, hoping for a resurrection that I may somehow enjoy what days I have left. I am broken AND broke. So Lord God, Please let someone who is off like I was read these testimonies and be warned and saved from this hellish existence. Thank You for Your keeping power and Your abiding faithfullness – Thank You Lord that it is still possible to have abundant life. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

  • Lance says:

    I have been working very hard at my new job. I have a wonderful family with three children and wife of 22 years. Working so hard every day without rest continues to affect me spiritually (less time for God) and also less time for my family. Today I took some time to sleep in, have breakfast and then sit outside in the sun. With my eyes closed I tried hard to push thoughts of work and worry out of my mind. Taking even a short time to be still, rest and listen to God has given me peace today.

  • Quynston says:

    I am 58 years old and I am beginning to feel that much of my energy is more desire for it than reality. I would refer any believer that questions the need for rest to Genesis and the creation passages when GOD decided to rest after HIS on the previous six days. I can say without that this “refreshing” is a re-energizing of the body and mind.

  • Adam says:

    While I wholeheartedly agree that we need to take time to physically and mentally rest from the stresses of the world, I think that as Christians we should seek God’s rest at all times, even while working. What I mean is that we need to surrender to God and ask him to bring us to a place where we’re able to have peace in our spirit and no anxiety in the midst of our everyday storms, just like Jesus sleeping in the boat.