We are busy! It doesn’t matter whether young or old, employed or retired, there is a lot going on in our lives. Sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed and on the brink of burn out but just keep going on. Before that happens, or if that is how you feel right now, consider these concepts from scripture:
God rested. After six days of creating, God “rested” from all the work He had done (Gen. 2:2). That is, He ceased creating (Heb. 4:4). God uses His example of resting on that day for the Israelites to rest every seventh day. We associate the Old Testament with the Sabbath because the Israelites had to keep it (Ex. 20:8-11). But it was not merely a memorial remembering God’s week of Creation. God’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery provides a reason to have a time of rest (Deut. 5:12-15). Exodus 31:17 even indicates refreshment came to God on the seventh day. Even on our “days off” we find it difficult to cease work. Although we do not observe the Sabbath as Christians, we ought to respect and think about why God encouraged the Israelites to rest.
Jesus rested. It would be hard to argue there is any man busier than Jesus. We constantly see him followed by crowds, always teaching, always encouraging, and always on His way. Jesus is never late, never unprepared, and never overwhelmed. Yet Jesus made sure He had time to rest and refresh. In Mark 1:35 He wakes early in the morning to go to a desolate place and pray. In Matthew 14:23 Jesus dismisses the crowds to go up to a mountain by himself to pray. On another occasion, Jesus would be taking a nap in a boat after leaving the crowds (Mark 4:35-40). Jesus rested and often refreshed Himself spiritually by connecting with the Father during His time alone.
Jesus commanded His disciples to rest. Soon before feeding five thousand people, Jesus commanded the disciples to “rest awhile” (Mk. 6:31). He knew the rest He and the disciples needed was important. Even good things (in this case, Jesus teaching) can be delayed to focus on something necessary (cf. Luke 10:38-42).
Even the dirt gets to rest. God commanded a time of rest for fields. Six years the Israelites could work a field, but in the seventh year, there is a “Sabbath of solemn rest for the land” (Lev. 25:1-7). In order for the dirt to keep being good dirt, it needs rest!
If you feel overwhelmed and over-busy, it may very well be that you need some rest. It may take schedule rearranging, stepping back from certain unnecessaries in life, and even asking for help. Rest is a God-approved reality and we can honor Him in it (1 Cor. 10:31). Remember, even the dirt gets to rest!
Graeber Road church of Christ