Learning to Rest: Busyness Is Not A Virtue
We live in a world that considers busyness a virtue. The more we have to do, the greater value we hold. Think about it. Do you ever find yourself bragging (or complaining) about how busy you are? Do you ever feel like a conversation heads down the path of the one-upping challenge about who is busier? Some of us go so far as getting offended at those who rest, relax, and take way too many vacations. Be honest now. If you see one more Facebook post of one of your friend's feet up by some pool while you’re stuck in an air-conditioned office, you're going to create a computer shaped hole in the wall.
Now that it is officially summer, I have one word for you.
Yup, that’s it. Rest.
Busyness may be a western cultural virtue, but it is not biblical. But I am not going to tell you about how God rested on the seventh day and that Jesus rested a lot because you knew that. But you (by you, I mean we) are all still running around with a to-do list with more tasks than we have time. And somehow we bought the lie that this is a good thing.
What if I told you that the Sabbath was connected to more than just rest, but to the resurrection itself? Think about why Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Take Matthew 12:9-14 for example (see also: Mark 3:1-6 and Luke 6:6-11). Jesus walks into the synagogue and heals a man with a shriveled hand. Presumably, he does it on the Sabbath on purpose to make a point. After all, he could have healed the guy on any day. It is not like his life was in danger. So why do it and cause the Pharisees to hate him even more?
Jesus wants to show us something far more important than another one of his cool miracles.
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, "Which one of you who has a sheep if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
Jesus healed loads of people, at all different times and days. So why now? Why this guy and on the Sabbath of all days? If this event was simply about this man’s deformity and Jesus’ ability to heal it, we can figure from the context that he would have picked a different moment. But Jesus did more than just heal the man, he restored him. And he did it on the Sabbath, to show that the Sabbath is about more than just resting, not working, taking a break, or going to church and devoting a day to Jesus. It is about restoration. Jesus is giving us a glimpse of what a restored life looks like. He takes what is broken and damaged and restores it to its original design. This is the resurrected life. And the source for that life is found only in Christ.
The Sabbath is about more than just resting. It is about our need as fallen people to be continuously restored until the day comes when we are completely restored in our resurrected state. We a broken people and we desperately need Jesus to restore us. But the busier we are, the more we rely on ourselves and our strength, rather than his, and the more susceptible we are to sin and its effects on us. Resting reminds us of our need for Christ and takes us back to the source of our strength to live the life God has called us to.
It’s warmer. It’s summer. Enjoy it.
But remember to find the time to rest in him. Choose to be less busy. Maybe take that obligatory picture of your feet while lounging by some water. Allow Christ to restore you and fill you as you prepare for a new season of ministry.
Executive Director of AwanaYMSteve currently serves as the Executive Director of AwanaYM. Previously, Steve spent over a decade teaching high school theology from Detroit to LA. Steve holds a Masters in Theology from Moody Theological Seminary and a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Steve speaks and writes on youth culture and apologetics. He resides in Chicago, IL with his wife and four children.
Follow Steve Kozak on Twitter: stevenmkozak
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