It’s easy to overwork. I’ve been feeling pretty burned out lately. Let’s not forget that resting is a part of our religion.
What do we know about rest from the Bible?
God rested from work
Is there anything else that needs to be said? Our God, Creator of the universe, who lives outside of space and time. He rests. He made a point to talk about this in the book of Genesis.
Take time to rest.
Jesus rested from ministry
The busier and Jesus became, the more it seemed like he prioritised spending time away from other people, just him on the mountain, praying. Prayer is not always restful, but I think the concept that we see in play is that Jesus regularly took “alone time.”
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.Luke 5:16
It never seems like a good time to take time away from the urgent demands of life. But Jesus did it.
Take time to get away by yourself.
It’s a part of our religion!
Taking thoughtful time to rest is baked right into our religion. So much so that the concept of a day of rest is holy, and listed in the first 10 rules God gave to the Israelite people. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8.
Although we live in the new covenant, we would do well to remember the priority that God placed on this idea of taking time to rest.
Wise leaders rest
I was impacted by this encouragement to rest, by pastor Tim Keller in New York City.
Two days after 9-11 here in New York City, I got a phone call from a pastor in my own denomination—whom I didn’t know personally, but I knew of him—from Oklahoma City. He was a Presbyterian minister there and Oklahoma City, as many of you know, in 1995 was there was a bombing there. A terrorist bombing there that not only killed 168 people, but also maimed hundreds more. And Oklahoma City is not a massively big city and it had a huge impact on all the families—a great deal of suffering.
And what the pastor told me was that you have to be very, very careful, very careful, because at first you’re going to go into 200%, overdrive, and you’re going to be helping everybody and talking to everybody and dealing with everything.
And he says, “Two years later, or even three years later, suddenly everybody on your church staff, all the ministers are going to get go into depression. They will have burned out. They will have been eating into their ‘capital’ as it were, emotionally and spiritually, and not realizing it.” And he said, “You have to be extraordinarily careful about that. And you have to watch for it.”
Now, I wish I could tell you [I followed his advice.] Of course, as a leader of a church in New York City on 9-11, I avoided that, I didn’t actually [do it]. And I would say over the next five years, much of the same thing happened to us that he talked about.
He said, it won’t show up right away. Right away, you’ll just think you’re sort of tired. And you just need one good break, and it’ll be okay. But no.Tim Keller, in this video
He gave this example:
My global metaphor is probably pretty familiar to you. If you’ve ever done air travel, you go into the airplane, and as the airplane is taxiing, the flight attendants come out and they talk to you about safety.
And at one point, they always say, “If there’s a crisis, these oxygen masks will come down.”
And what they say is, “Don’t try to help anybody else unless you have your own oxygen mask on. Even if you have a little child and you’re scared about them and fearful for them, put your own oxygen mask on before you do any other help.”
Because if you’re sucking air, and passing out, you’re not going to be able to help anybody else.Tim Keller, in the same video
Hey, worker: TAKE TIME TO REST.