Bishop Matthew Thomas<br />To read more from Bishop Thomas, visit fmcusa.org/matthewthomas.
“Rest” is a great idea. What does it mean?
Some of the most familiar and potent Bible passages use the words “Sabbath” or “rest.” God rested on the seventh day for some inexplicable reason. He went a step further and blessed the day of rest “and made it holy” (Genesis 2:2–3). He wrote about the Sabbath day on a stone tablet and had Moses carry the command down the mountain (Exodus 20:8–11). Jesus promised rest to those who come to Him (Matthew 11:28). The ultimate offer of God for His people (Hebrews 4) hinges on its full expression.
Christians understand the theological and practical importance. God wants us to better understand His work through our rest. Most pastors have emphasized that we physically, emotionally and mentally need rest. However, few people consistently agree or understand what rest should look like in their lives. A few understand rhythms, their own limitations and active rest, and they commit to wholeness.
Rest is not laziness, sloth or inert immobility. Those qualities aren’t virtuous in any quadrant of the Bible or in historical practice. The best disciples are productive and active.
Rest can’t simply be Sunday or Saturday as we know these days in our culture. Just like most people know how to listen, but few know how to skillfully listen; and most people know how to relate with others, but few know how to fully understand others deeply; most people know how to rest, but few know how to become more whole and full in doing so.
In your search to obey God in this area, forget the notion that a day off from work is necessarily rest. For most of us, it is just a day to catch up on other stuff. Accept the fact there must be a time and place in your life where you can become more fully alive and refreshed than by simply working, doing hobbies and hanging out with friends and family. These activities are encouraging, not necessarily restful.
Discover how and where you most fully connect with God. Do that for a whole day. Then rinse and repeat regularly. Let God do the working. Let Him have His way, reveal Himself, uncover the hidden in you and help you experience His grace — all in a day. Now that’s rest.0