It’s 4:45 am. And my alarm is going off… beep…Beep…BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!!! I slam my fist down and silence it. It’s the seventh day since I signed up at a local gym, and I’ve committed to going every day before work. Out of bed I go. While I’m going through my morning routine, I’m also checking email on my iPhone, checking Facebook, and the news headlines from the last 12 hours. Yeah, I bring my iPhone in the bathroom…I know, I know.
A quick kiss on the forehead of my sleeping beauty, careful not to wake her, and it’s off to the kitchen. It’s now 4:53 am. I throw a couple carrots, celery, an orange, some spinach and a banana into the blender. Mmmm… Breakfast. BING! Oh, there’s another email. Better check that.
5:03 am. At the gym and on a bike. Found a preaching show and away we go. And while I’m sweating away at five in the morning, this guy’s preaching about resting.
Who rests anymore? There’s no time to rest! I was talking with a good friend of mine in ministry on the phone today, as he prepared to take a few days off to “rest.” In his voice I could hear he was exhausted from the non-stop pace yet apprehensive to break his stride and rest. As many of you know, the work never ends, and sometimes it feels like if we do stop now, we’ll only get further and further behind!
I spent a few moments this morning reading in Mark, from a passage that the TV preacher referenced, about when the apostles returned to Jesus after being sent out to minister on their own for a while. This verse jumped out at me:
(New King James)
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.
The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.
Jesus knew that rest is important. God set a precedent by resting on Day 7 of creation. He took that final day and demonstrated the importance of rest for all of mankind. Sure, he probably could have done something more, a few final touches, maybe create a few hundred more species of exotic animals; add a few more planets, or whatever he wanted. But, he didn’t. He rested.
We can become so overwhelmed by the tasks at hand that we forget or neglect to take time to rest, to rest in His presence. It is then and only then that we can become re-energized to accomplish what He has called us to do. And beyond that, what is the point of accomplishing anything, if along the busy road of “doing His will” we lose sight of Him and forget what His will is for us?
God’s will for us is that we love Him and love the people around us in the same way as we love ourselves. I’ve got something to say about the second part of that in the future, about loving ourselves, but sticking to the first part, it was Jesus who said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” We can’t love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength when we’ve dedicated every resource we have to simply living life. We are constantly bombarded and distracted by everyday things that we don’t take even the slightest of moments to rest or to rest in Him.
Talk about being distracted. Even when I tell myself I’m resting, I’m usually playing piano, watching TV, checking my email, facebook, twitter or browsing the internet; keeping in-the-loop, and up-to-date. During busy seasons of life, I often joke that I’ll “sleep when I’m dead,” basically implying that there is no time to rest…unless we choose make time, that is.
My iPhone is always in my hand, at the ready to assist me as I attempt to accomplish whatever goal I have set for a particular moment. I call it multitasking if I am making notes about something, checking the facts on something while listening to you talk. My wife calls it rude. If we are having a conversation, and I reach for my phone, she yells, “don’t shoot!”, as though I were reaching for a gun. Likewise, if I attempt to initiate conversation while staring into the light of the incredibly amazing iPhone, she’ll say she can’t start talking while I’m pointing “that thing” at her. She has one too, but I guess that isn’t the point.
I bet it’s rude to God that in every quiet moment we attempt to fill the void with some type of noise, be it audible, mental or otherwise, rather than pause in His rest, and listen.
If He was speaking to you in a still small voice, could you hear it? If He let his voice rumble louder than thunder, could you hear it over the noise in your own life?
Last night before bed, I took three and a half minutes to rest. I’d watched the news and read all my email. Brandee was dropping off the babysitter, so I put my phone in another room, sat on the couch all alone in my bathrobe, and listened for His voice. I didn’t pray, didn’t worship, didn’t read my bible. I took time to rest. I eliminated the distractions and tried to love him not only with my all heart, soul and strength, but with all of my mind too, not just whatever percentage I wasn’t using for something else.
Turn down the noise, of all your distractions, and rest.