Learning to Rest
In this past week’s sermons, I talked about the misapplication of the ‘sluggard’ passages in Proverbs. I said that they don’t apply to two groups; those who are burned out and those who are work-a-holics. With the former group, they feel extreme guilt when they here the words ‘lazy’ or ‘slothful’ when the truth of the matter is they are exhausted. The latter group uses the same passages to justify their sinful behavior to keep seeking satisfaction in work rather than trusting God in rest.
We have become a culture that no longer values rest. And as I said in the sermon, even when we do, we do not really understand what is intended when we speak of biblical rest. I tend to be one of those that experiences frequent burn-out. Even though I am very outgoing publicly, I am somewhat of an introvert. My batteries get drained quickly. I fear not looking like a ‘super-apostle’ and I allow guilt to keep me from saying no. I plow too close to the boundaries. It is inevitable that I will crash if I don’t take frequent periods of rest.
We all are supposed to rest. In fact, it should occur every seventh day. If you are like me, I can abuse the Sabbath. I can find myself using it to ‘catch up’ on those activities around my house that are not related to my job. And as I have discovered, it’s my inability to set proper boundaries within my work, that infringe on those duties that I need to be doing for my household during a normal work-week. I have learned that celebrating a proper sabbath, brings massive rewards -not just in productivity, but in my relationships with friends, family and the Lord.
So how does one start? I want to recommend two resources to you (along with what I term as an ‘honorable mention’). The first is a book by David Murray entitled, Re-set. This volume is written primarily for ministers. Murray is a counseling professor at Puritan Reformed Seminary so he has a leaning toward training pastors. But I used this book within my men’s small group even though I am the only pastor. Everyone found it to be very practical and beneficial from both the mindset of the burnout and the work-a-holic.
The other resource is more philosophical. It is John Koessler’s The Radical Pursuit of Rest. This book takes a deeper look at the issue. It took me a few weeks to get through it. Not because it was difficult to understand, but that it was so convicting. I can honestly say that Koessler’s teachings saved me from myself.
The honorable mention goes to From the Sabbath to the Lord’s Day: A Historical Investigation edited by D.A. Carson. I mention this book because it helped me solidify my understanding of a Sabbath day and how that relates to our day of worship on Sunday. It does use some technical jargon. But it will help you understand the concepts rest when Sunday may be one of the busiest days of your week.
I hope you find the true rest in the Lord that you are seeking.