Rest for health’s sake
WE SEEM to always be going from one thing to the next, as we are constantly encouraged to keep moving. While that is good and healthy for us, rest is equally important and healthy. One of the biggest causes of deteriorating health is that we overwork our bodies without taking the necessary rest.
It is not unusual for us to work seven days in a row, in one way or another. We go through the entire week working hard, head down, and not stopping to give our bodies time to recover and rejuvenate. Doctors tell us that this is one of the fastest ways to increase stress, cause deteriorating health, and take us to an early grave. We were created with the ability to handle almost anything, but we can’t handle stress for an indefinite period of time without it impacting us negatively. We need time off to rest and be restored. In the Bible, God commands us to set aside one day of the week to rest from our normal work and to focus on Him.
Notice that God doesn’t just suggest it. God commands us to set aside one day to rest, and the Bible calls it a ‘Sabbath’ day. This is a principle established in the Bible. Colossians 2:16 (NLT) says, “…don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.” The actual day that we take as a Sabbath rest day no longer matters, but the principle of rest does.
We need the break from our normal work. Jesus said it this way: “… the Sabbath was made to benefit man, and not man to benefit the Sabbath. 28 And I, the Messiah, have authority even to decide what men can do on Sabbath days!” Mark 2:27-28 TLB. Take special note of that first phrase, “The Sabbath was made to benefit man”. How does taking a Sabbath day, a day set apart from work, benefit us? The following are Biblical answers to this question.
a. God knows we need rest because He created us, and He created us to need rest. Our bodies and minds will break down if we never stop. So, rest is beneficial to both our minds and bodies.
b. Second, the Sabbath is about focusing our attention on God. We need a day off not just from work, but we need a day set apart that we step away from all the distractions that bear on us every day, and that turn our focus from God. That’s why we take a day away from our careers and busy lives to go to church and to worship.
It’s important that we take some time to seriously think about this area in our lives. If you are experiencing deteriorating physical health, this may be a contributing factor. If you are constantly stressed and feeling overwhelmed, a lack of rest may be impacting how you feel and are able to function. When we look around at the world we live in, we realise that everything needs downtime to function optimally, even machines.
For the sake of good physical, emotional and mental health, make a commitment to set aside one day, every week, to step back from your everyday work. Attend church, focus on God and spend some time just resting. Do this for a few weeks and see how it impacts your life.