If you haven’t read Part One yet or would like a refresher, I’ve linked it here.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
In our fast-paced world of to-do lists, social media distractions, and steadily decreasing hours of sleep at night, the last thing we want to do is slow down. Slowing down, even stopping (the horror!) feels like a waste of time. We could be doing so many things during that time, so many things, even, for the work that God sets out for us.
God has given us work, yes. And work is good. But God has also given us rest, and we can’t wholly honor His call to us to work unless we also balance that work with rest.
We need look no further than the Lord Himself when seeking evidence for the importance of balancing work and rest. In Genesis we are told that “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:3). Only after this day of rest did God create man and woman. Throughout the gospels, Jesus continually sets the example of stepping away to rest. We are told how after feeding the five thousand people, Jesus “dismissed the crowds [and] went up on the mountain by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23, ESV), and that He would “often slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16, NASB). Jesus, the high-demand counselor, healer, teacher, and minister, took time out to rest and be still.
If we are to follow Jesus’ example of ministry, we must not stop at His service. We must be obedient in all things, including the need for us to rest: to set time aside to recharge.
It begins with humility. We must recognize that we are not invincible and that rest is absolutely an essential friend of work. “Be still,” God gently and firmly commands us. This isn’t some imprisoning law meant to hinder our lives. This is a loving exhortation because God knows we need to be filled in order to fill others.
Being still is about stepping aside and refocusing. Being still is about blocking out the voices in our heads (though it isn’t easy) and quieting our hearts before God. It’s letting Him speak into the silence. We needn’t go into that space with an agenda. We just need to bring our hearts, our open hands, and our thoughts, even if they are wordless, and lay it all before God. He’ll take it from there, but we must adopt a posture of surrender.
God beckons us to know Him. When we open our hearts to His love, He fills us with new strength, and we are able to obediently follow Him into the work set before us. We are then able to return to work with a renewed vigor and deeper desire to walk in love.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
– Jesus (Matthew 11:28, ESV)