2 On the sixth day God completed all the work that he had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation.
Life can feel like we’re stuck running on an ever accelerating hamster wheel with no way to jump off. Our culture reveres over work. Americans work longer hours and take less time off than most industrialized nations. Even not pushing ourselves to the brink, both physically and mentally, is seen as a character flaw. Many who weren’t able to work during shut down felt guilty, and felt the need to fill up all that “found” time with activity. No wonder we’re exhausted, anxious and just plain worn out, and we often don’t feel like we have much left to give. We need to remember to give it a rest!
I saw a post on Instagram today that said, “You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first.” It’s a great reminder! Easy to say, but hard to do, we think it’s selfish, but it isn’t selfish, it’s the loving thing to do. God knew we would have this problem, so God gave us a commandment, to rest and cease from all work, a Sabbath day. God modeled this behavior for us, stopped and made the Sabbath a time of rest, a holy space, a blessing. Resting is an act of love, that God ordained for us, that we can do for our selves. This is time we willingly set aside to turn to God so God can pour love and peace into us, to fill our cups to overflowing so that we find rest for the journey ahead.
Sabbath rest doesn’t always have to be Sunday, rest can be found in small spaces in our day. Morning devotions, praying while walking or taking a break, sitting for a moment to rest in God’s presence. Jesus modeled rest for us by taking time to worship, pray and eat meals with the disciples. We call Jesus the “Lord of the Sabbath” because Jesus died for us and redeemed us, and in Christ we can find soul refreshing rest, whenever we seek Christ.
Finding rest is not just a solitary “us and God alone” experience. We find Sabbath rest in fellowship with others and it’s the “healing glue” that holds us together as we serve God and others. When we worship together we find rest in God’s loving presence. We ask for forgiveness and we forgive others by letting go of the burden of continuing to carry anger and hurt. We give thanks and we find rest with each other.
Rest is a loving act we can model for others in our homes. Our cups can be filled by creating down time and opportunities to be present with each other. We find rest by sharing meals and conversations, time to play and nap, encouraging others to slow down, let go and reconnect.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
There’s a deep joy that comes from seeking God, trusting God and resting in God’s presence. It’s a holy place of healing available to you at any moment. Seek God and find rest. Practicing sabbath rest is a life giving, necessary act of love that we do for ourselves. We can learn to make space for God to fill our cups, so that we can continue to do the work of the kingdom without burning out. Today, find space to seek God and rest in God’s presence. Hold your cup out to God and ask for it to be filled with rest, joy and peace.
Prayer: Holy God, in you we find our rest. Fill our cups Lord. Send your Spirit to remind us to seek our rest in that holy space that is always available to us, with you. Amen.