Working from rest is at the heart of honoring the Sabbath. It means that we rest, work then as we swing back to rest we prune so that we can abide in Christ. This is an essential rhythm on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Living on Kwaj I have learned the consequences of not being able to fully swing back to rest due to our location and the cost of travel off island. It has been very powerful experience in teaching me the value of this pattern.
One area I am noticing the impact of not working from rest is preaching. It is something I feel deeply called to do and really enjoy doing but by the time I go on vacation I will have preached something like 50 out of 51 Sundays. Frankly I can feel it. I don’t feel like I am at my best the last few weeks and it bothers me. I am thankful God is strengthening me for the task but I feel him teaching me that this isn’t the way to live. In addition to the creativity needed to preach the Word this past year, I also have had to be creative as I lead over 35 bible studies in that same time frame. This isn’t the pattern we are called to live.
Living in a place with no restaurants and only three fast food places means that the meal preparation and clean up is intense to say the least. My wife has had very few breaks which means by the end cooking for her is largely a chore and burnout is on the horizon. There are other examples of this pattern but I don’t want to turn this post into whining session. The examples are there to help illustrate the point that God has been teaching me from this experience.
The point is that when we ignore rest we lessen our ability to love God and love our neighbor. We get dull and find ourselves not really wanting to do anything now that they daily stuff has become such a chore. Rest reinvigorates us and gives us the renewal and space that we need to enter more fully into our calling to love God and love our neighbor. Without the time of abiding in Christ and being renewed we will never bear the fruit we are called to bear because we will be too burdened. Without rest loving our neighbor becomes unmanageable because we are simply trying to survive our own lives, let alone enter into neighbor's pain and struggles. Without rest being involved in the ministry of our congregation becomes too difficult because we just don't have the energy to invest. The consequences of not pruning and abiding in Christ are significant. I can see why honoring the Sabbath is in the top ten.
While my location might be unique I don't my struggle to honor the Sabbath is unique. I think many of us are challenged to live the rhythm of: rest-work-prune-abide then start working again. If I am right that a lack of rest impacts our ability to love God and our neighbor then it becomes imperative for Christians to learn to live this pattern since love is at the heart of who we are.
How is the rhythm of your life?