When you have time off, do you ever try to rest really productively? Get through that next Netflix series as fast as you can so you can move on to the next? Get as far down your to read list as possible? Make it your ambition to start a new hobby? Write a list of compulsory fun to get through to make sure you’ve made the most of your time?
'We are destined for rest'
The good news is we are destined for rest.
Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything and a season for everything under the heavens – rest, and work. We also see rest written into our weekly rhythms, as God blesses us with the Sabbath. (If our limitless God rests, then it’s a no brainer that we as finite humans need to rest too!)
There’s no doubt this is at war with the culture of today. For our culture, productivity is the holy grail, our lives are fast-paced, and we max out on efficiency by having instant and immediate gratification. This doesn’t always fit with a mindset of rest.
But, God gave the Israelites not only a weekly Sabbath rest but three big festivals a year just to rest and enjoy Him – this meant leaving their homes for weeks at a time (not to mention a number of smaller festivals throughout the year). This made absolutely no economic sense! But they traded time spent in the fields with time resting with God. While we find it hard to rest, the Israelites rested as their livelihoods literally depended on it. Resting means really trusting.
'Time to pace ourselves and lift our eyes to the gift giver'
This is not to say that getting valuable work experience or a part time job (or even getting through to-do lists or new hobbies that we wouldn’t normally have time for) aren’t great things. It does mean that, over the summer, many of us have been blessed with time to steward well, as with any other gift. Time to pace ourselves and lift our eyes to the gift giver, rather than believing we can do it all.
What might this look like?
Well, like in the story of Mary and Martha, it might mean intentionally leaving that to-do list unfinished for a while to stop and spend time with Jesus. Perhaps we could write a ‘life giving list’ of things that make us feel physically and spiritually alive and pick some to do each day. We need to make sure we have time to really switch off mentally, perhaps getting a change of scene, spending good time with family and friends. And we need to spend time in Scripture and prayer, enjoying God.
After a year like we’ve had, it can be easy to think that we now need to do everything we haven’t been able to do, see everyone we haven’t been able to see, take all the opportunities we feel like we’ve missed and ‘make up for lost time’. But let’s remember it has been a difficult and taxing year and above all these things our loving Lord invites us to ‘come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28-30). Let us all come to the Lord this summer.
This blog was written by Lancashire CU Staff Worker Abi Andrews
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