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Rest Necessary

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 7, 2012

And he [Jesus] said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

Mark 6:31 ESV

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“I get the feeling we are a tired generation. Evidence of that fatigue abounds in a multitude of articles about health problems related to overwork and exhaustion. Workaholism is a modern word. No matter how hard we are willing to work in our competitive world, there always seems to be someone willing to put in a few more hours than we are.

What is strange about our general fatigue as a people is the fact that we are such a leisure-oriented society. We actually have what is called a leisure industry, and it is among the most profitable in our economy. Whole companies, organizations, and retail chain stores are committed to providing the goods with which people can pursue fun and good times.

We probably have more time for leisure than we ever had before. The five-day workweek is, after all, a relatively new innovation in history; we have moved away from the farm, where there was always more work to do; we can leave work behind if we want and head for leisure. So why is there so much exhaustion and fatigue today? Is it real? Imagined? Or is the contemporary form of exhaustion evidence that we no longer understand genuine rest, which is different from the pursuit of leisure?

There is a biblical view of rest that needs to be uncovered and examined. In fact, the Bible reveals God Himself to be the first ‘rester.’ ‘On the seventh day He rested…’ An even more enlightening comment is made by Moses in Exodus 31:17: ‘In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day, He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.’ The literal translation suggests the phrase ‘He refreshed Himself.’

Does God indeed need to rest? Of course not! But did God choose to rest? Yes. Why? Because God subjected creation to a rhythm of rest and work that He revealed by observing the rhythm Himself, as a precedent for everyone else. In this day, He showed us a key to order in our private worlds.

The rest was not meant to be a luxury, but rather a necessity for those who want to have growth and maturity.”

Gordon MacDonald

Ordering Your Private World, 175-176

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Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 ESV

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