I owe the idea for this blogpost to a friend of mine, Dr. Craig Thompson. Craig is the Pastor at Malvern Hill Baptist Church, blogs, and hosts The Ordinary Christian Podcast. Craig hosted Adam Mabry on a recent episode, and they conversed about Mabry’s book, The Art of Rest.
The conversation turned on the need for the Christian to find healthy rhythms of rest and worship in the midst of our busy, achievement-centered culture. Sometimes it seems as if we associate busyness with spirituality. For a Biblical example look at Martha in Luke 10:48-52.
This blogpost is not from an expert. Sure, I can take a nap, but I’m too often guilty of not resting as God has prescribed. I’m not going to get in the details of what we can or cannot do on our day of rest. That’s the kind of legalism that the Pharisees cared about. But God did give us the Sabbath Day for our own spiritual health (Mark 2:27). We need the rest and worship that God commands.
Here are some of the things God is teaching me as I’ve reflected on rest and worship.
- God models rest for us. In Genesis, God rested on the seventh day of creation. God wasn’t tired. He was modeling a principle that the masterpiece of his creation needed. Jesus himself modeled rest (Mark 5:38). That God modeled rest indicates the importance of setting aside one day a week for rest and worship.
- God commands us to build rhythms of rest and worship into our schedule. All the way back in the 10 commandments, God commanded his people to observe the Sabbath Day by refraining from regular work and focusing on God in worship. Of course, New Testament believers worship on Sunday, and we are not required to observe the Sabbath Day in a legalistic fashion. Yet we are still obligated to build rhythms of rest and worship into our lives.
- God invites us to bring our burdens to him. Jesus offered spiritual rest to those who labored (Matthew 11:28-30). God doesn’t need our efforts and energy. Rather, he invites us to trust him and blesses us by taking our burdens. We need to learn to depend on him.
I don’t have this figured out. There are some more things I know God wants to teach me about the specifics of how to rest and worship well. (We’ll explore some more of these next week in part 2). But there is one truth that God has imprinted in my mind that I hope will encourage you.
One of the primary reasons we should observe a rhythm of rest and worship is because God has everything under control.
When I don’t rest well at night, when I am stressed, or when I can’t turn my brain off, it is often because I’m trying to be in control. I’m trying to fix that situation. I’m trying to work out that issue. I’m trying to make something happen. God has certainly called us to be effective and active. And sometimes that’s what we’re doing. But we need to remember that God has everything under control. When we remember this most important truth, we can lay our head down at night in peace. When we remember this most important truth, we can obey God on that one day a week set aside for worship and rest.
Tonight, before you go to sleep (or when you are awake because you can’t sleep), remember that God has everything under control.
This week, when you are worshiping and resting on that special day, remember that God has everything under control.
God is teaching me to observe a rhythm of rest and worship because I need the regular practice of trusting him. How about you?