By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” St. Mark 6:30-31 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. St. Luke 5:15-16
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows; You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Psalm 23:1-3
Some years ago I had the opportunity to visit the breathtaking Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. We enjoyed a wonderful family picnic in a picturesque setting. The grounds were absolutely beautiful: healthy green lawns and blooms of every shade. It was just great!
We decided to visit this beautiful landmark again but this time we went in the winter. I couldn’t believe the difference. The lush green lawns were covered in a white blanket of snow and there was not a bloom in sight! It was hard to imagine we were in the same place but it was indeed so. We were made to understand that many of the trees, shrubs and plants were perennials – they would sleep during the Winter months, but Spring would bring them renewed life. Besides, our guide explained, the earth needs to rest.
I find in my own life, there are times I do need rest but there’s so much to do! I start doing one thing, move on to another and then another and the next thing I know, it’s the dinner hour and there’s still much to be done. I run back and forth trying to get everything done but there are only so many hours in a day. I plan, I make my ‘to do’ list and I go at it with all I have but invariably I find I have put too much to be done into today’s hours. It’s impossible to get it all done on time so at the end of 24 hours, it starts all over again. I can’t save hours from yesterday to make today last longer, nor can I carry forward today’s minutes to tomorrow … that could be a sign that I’m trying to accomplish too much and that I need to rest.
Perhaps you haven’t rested much lately. Your body may be at rest, but like me, your thoughts are racing at a hundred miles per hour. I am challenging myself to rest this week. I will choose to spend time in physical rest as well as spending more time with Him. The day will still be 24 hours but it is my intention to consciously give Him more of me. Will you join me in resting this week…? Resting in Him, resting on Him and just plain resting? There may be lots to get done and time may be running away from you but do remember, you need to rest.
Father, I am thankful that You gave us the first example of resting. I know I should rest, but I’m not always quick to do that. I repent of the times I’ve cut corners on ‘downtime’ in order to accomplish other things. Thank you for reminding me that my body is Your temple and that You want me to prosper in all things and be in health, just as (my) soul prospers (3 John 2.) Help me to make wise decisions as to how I commit my time knowing that it’s better to decline than to push and then crash and burn! Jesus took time to be away – He even slept while the storm howled. When the storms come, help me to rest in You instead of trying to be everywhere at once. Thanks for being concerned about every area of my life. Please help me not to ignore the signs, but to take a break and rest! Amen
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