And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.” Mark 6:31-32

Have you ever felt that way, working so hard with so much to do that you don’t even have time to eat? Well, guess what, God wants you to take a break.

You might ask me how I can say that so emphatically. Well, for one, it is one of the commandments, and He only gave us ten so it must be pretty important. (Notice they are commandments, not suggestions).

And as the Scripture above shows, Jesus, the Son of God, the compassionate Savior, took a break with his disciples in spite of the fact that there were pressing needs all around them. In fact, that is why He had them take a break.

God did not design you to work seven days per week, non-stop. There is no way you will be able to maintain mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, or relational health without taking breaks.

If you don’t take a break. You are going to break.

If the Ten Commandments aren’t enough proof for you, how about creation itself? God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. Do you think He was tired? No. But He knew you would be. He was setting the rhythm for us. He showed us by modeling it for us.

Some may say because you need to provide for your family. But don’t you think God would cover you? He tried to give His people this lesson when He was training them to trust Him in the desert. He told them that He would provide for them supernaturally with angel bread, “manna”, that would just appear on the ground every morning – and it did!

But He told them not to go out and gather it on the day of rest – that He would give them twice as much on day six to cover them on day seven. They didn’t pass the test.

“Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. The Lord asked Moses, ‘How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.’  So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day.” Exodus 16:27-30 NLT

Are you passing the test of trust?

Did you notice that God also said that the Sabbath is His “gift to you”? How precious is that? He cares about you so much that He wants you to take care of yourself. To rest.

Some people don’t’ rest because they don’t think they can carve it out of their week. But this 30 for 30 is about Strength and Strategy. I bet if you ask the Lord He will give you His wisdom. He will show you a way to do it that you can’t see right now.

For some it may be that you get antsy when you slow down and rest. You always have to be doing something. What is that about? Do you remember the story of Mary and Martha? If not, you might want to read it again and ask the Lord what He wants to show you. (Luke 10:38-43)

There was a time when I was not able to take breaks and feel good about it. I always had to be working. That was so unlike me growing up, but once I went into business, and then the ministry, I began to believe lies about what it meant to be a diligent and faithful businessman or minister. I almost quit the ministry because I got burned out.

Then the Lord began to teach me about resting and personal stewardship of my time and energy. One blog post isn’t long enough for me to explain my personal journey that brought me to the place where I absolutely enjoy doing nothing, real slow, but it has been one of the most life-giving things I have ever learned to put into practice.

Suffice it to say, the journey began when He told me that He is the One who created the Sabbath, and that if I did not rest, I would not be in His will. How good is He? Making us rest.

If you do not regularly rest, why not? Ask the Lord about it. Let Him give you His strategy for rest. Don’t assume what He will say. And don’t say it can’t be done. It is His will for you.

THINK ABOUT IT

  1. Do you have a difficult time slowing down and taking breaks? Why do you think that is?
  2. What do you think is the worst thing that could happen if you took time to rest?
  3. Do you believe God would provide for you if you worked less and played more? Why or why not?