I've found that most people don't think about their need for rest until they have abandoned making time for it in their lives and suffer the consequences. I've found this to be true for myself, and for those that I see around me. We are busy people, living busy lives, and while there is nothing wrong with being busy and fruitful, it is something different altogether when our busyness actually becomes a god in our lives. The problem happens when we bow down to the god of busyness, making sacrifices to it at the expense of worshipping the true God by enjoying his good gift of rest.
We see this in many ways in our lives: when we forsake sleep to finish that project, scroll on our phones into the wee hours of the night, or binge watch Netflix. We see this when it is unthinkable in or minds to take a rest, say "no" to doing something that is not a priority or unessential in our lives. We see this when we don't rest even when we're sick. We see this is the way that we move from one thing to the next without margin to breathe.
I was reading Psalm 127 this morning and it struck me how applicable this psalm is to work and rest, particularly the first two verses:
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Unless the Lord does the building, our labor is in vain. We can't do anything apart from the Lord being in the labor. Ultimately, we can't do everything either. We are finite beings with clear boundaries placed on our lives, like our weakness in our flesh in needing sleep. In fact, humans spend a third of their lives sleeping. It's a humble reminder of our weakness in flesh and our dependence upon the Lord.
It's striking even in this psalm that the author reminds us that it is in vain that we rise early and stay up late, and being anxious because the Lord gives his beloved rest.
I don't often think about how the Lord has given me the good gift of rest and how that gift often comes in the form of sleep. It's a good gift that we should embrace far more than we consume the bread of anxious toil.
As busy people, let this psalm encourage you to take time to rest physically (in sleep, recreation, and refreshment), but ultimately take time to rest in the Lord's work. Even when we labor, unless the Lord labors, we labor in vain. So let's look to the Lord to be central in our labor and embrace his good gift of rest by making time for it.
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