Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rest-Work

I am not sure this post is part of my key spiritual concepts series, although maybe it is. Nevertheless it is what I have been learning lately and I think the key insight is worth thinking about.

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?

1 comment:

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Marshall Islands? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Marshall Islands in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Calle Valencia,39
28903 Getafe (Madrid)
Spain

If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez