Search for rest: Don’t work too hard
Schools are out. The weather is warming up (finally)…summer has arrived!
For most people, that means vacation time sandwiched into increasingly busy schedules. If you are planning some down time this summer, that’s wonderful!
An increasing number of Americans are taking less vacation time each year: 47% less, according to a Forbes Magazine article (Victor Lipman, 5/21/18). Increasing pressure from employers to take less time off, to accomplish more with less— and in less time— and fear of facing that pile of work on your desk when you return: all contribute to steadily shrinking vacation times.
If you’re reading this on a device, there’s another reason: we can bring our busyness, our pressure, wherever we go!
What does all this frenetic activity do to our souls? Simply put, we get tired, even exhausted. And there can seem to be no letup. Nagging questions may pop up in rare quiet moments: What am I accomplishing? What is the purpose of my life? Does anyone really care about me?
Jesus Christ invites all of us to enter a season of rest with Him that extends way beyond any vacation. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Activity and achievements, while good in themselves, cannot satisfy the deepest longings in our souls for love, value, and meaning. Those come from a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
This invitation is especially appropriate in our day. All of us have experienced exhaustion and stress: Jesus offers us rest for our souls. Of course, this involves taking Jesus’ yoke upon us. In developing nations, two drought animals are often yoked together by a farmer. In order to plow a field, they must work together and go in the same direction.
Jesus wants us to trust Him and allow Him to direct our lives. Rather than this trust producing more stress, Jesus says “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He alone can meet the deepest needs of our soul, and the outcome will be rest. There is great peace in knowing we are right with God, and that our lives are being guided by Him, even though we may be facing challenging circumstances.
Rest for the soul also requires rest for our bodies. The pile of work will still be there, but that time of rest, that time with family and friends, is absolutely essential. No one will ever say at the end of their life, “I wish I had spent one more day on the job.” We will treasure leisure time spent with loved ones, and our lives will be transformed by the One who promises us rest. Enjoy your summer!
Pastor Don Baumann of Hilltop Community Church is a member of the Carson Valley Minister’s Association.