Rest in Your Busyness
“Are you tired? Come to me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Jesus
- Matthew 11:28-30 (The MSG)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)
There are two recurring themes in the Bible: 1) Take time to rest and 2) use your talents wisely.
These can be translated into slowing down and being productive. They seem to be counter to each other in meaning. We think of rest as not being productive. We think of using your talents wisely as being busy. But I would challenge you to rest in your busyness.
First of all, if you are a “busy all the time person” or workaholic, slow down. Discipline yourself with a daily time of doing nothing. Don’t even read, and for sure don’t watch television. Take 15 to 30 minutes to sit in a quite room, tune out noises and just rest your body and mind.
If you are a person that is not using your talents wisely, then you need to learn to focus. Exert more energy focusing on a goal. Strive toward seeing an outcome for your efforts, completing a job and seeing a problem solved.
I want to put forward, there is a lifestyle where we can combine being at rest and being busy. Like I said above, these two concepts seem to be counter to each other. The writer of Hebrews was cautioning us not to be like the Jewish people who did not enter God’s rest. (Heb.4) God even wrote it into the Ten Commandments, to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. This was a command to the Jewish people to rest from their labors for a day. The writer of Hebrews goes on to make what seems like a contradictory statement in Hebrews 4: 11 “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, least anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” (NKJV) The King James translation actually says, Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest. Jesus, while having a discussion with the Pharisees about the Sabbath, said, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Basically, he was saying, I do not have to stop doing good one day of the week. Jesus was trying to return the Sabbath to its original meaning of rest not law.
I realized years ago; there is a rest that can be in the mist of our labors. I learned I could be productive without stress. It was a discipline I had to strive to follow. I submitted myself to a place of rest. A place where God’s rest was being preserved; a house of prayer (HOP). The church I attended had opened a house of prayer. I started to spend time there. In a healthy house of prayer, you will find the presence of the Lord. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) In a healthy HOP, you not only pray but you listen for the Lord to speak to you.
After disciplining myself to spend time in the HOP, I begin to see extra side effects. I noticed I was no longer striving at my work place. I was able to accomplish things at my job that had many positive results. Not only was I stress free but more productive, more creative and most of all at peace with my coworkers.
As for as our attitude regarding our jobs, we should follow what Paul wrote to bondservants: 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ. Col.3:22-24