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Finding Faith: Like Jesus shows, take time to rest

"In Genesis, we are told that even God rested on the seventh day after he created the universe. So, there seems to be a pretty good precedent for us to rein in our breathless pace."

Devlyn Brooks 2021
Devlyn Brooks
Contributed
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Another church in my hometown has been preaching a sermon series called “Jesus took naps. Be like Jesus.”

The pastors at the church aren’t just being coy; they’re actually driving home an important message to their parishioners: Even Jesus rested.

In our supercharged, hyperconnected, overstimulated way of life nowadays, it is way too easy to forget that we need time to shut down — mentally, physically and spiritually. We have tricked ourselves into believing that constant activity is the only way to succeed.

Jesus knew this: So that’s why in the Gospel of Mark, just before he performs the miracle of feeding the 5,000, Jesus tells his disciples to “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For, as the gospel tells us, the disciples had been working so hard, “they had no leisure even to eat.”

In fact, in Genesis, we are told that even God rested on the seventh day after he created the universe. So, there seems to be a pretty good precedent for us to rein in our breathless pace.

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You might have guessed: I recently returned from 10 days away from work and church, a time I spent with my family and friends at the lake, working in my backyard, walking my dogs, reading for fun and finishing the recent season of “Stranger Things.”

With that vacation in the rearview mirror, it is easy to recognize how run down, mentally and spiritually, that I was. You see, pastors, it seems, aren’t much better at recognizing our human limitations, nor practicing what we preach. We, too, need reminders that always working at a breakneck pace doesn’t always yield more and better results.

Sabbath, which is the concept of setting aside a day to rest and worship each week, is much too big to explore in full in this one column. But please know that our Creator didn’t intend for us to be productive every waking moment of our lives. We are the ones who have contorted what it means to be successful, and thus we have created this ever-faster carousel which seems impossible to jump off.

Admittedly, the opportunity for rest varies with one’s circumstances. Those who find themselves working hard just to make financial ends meet each month may politely wink at me after reading this. But, for a lot of us, our “busyness” is more about our quest for status than it is a necessity. And it is a trait on which we ought to reflect.

Does filling every waking hour with work make us better spouses, parents, friends or neighbors? Likely not.

But I’m pretty certain that playing games in the lake with your kids, fishing off the dock with your spouse and walking your dogs into the beautiful summer sunsets just might.

My friends, Jesus took naps. Be like Jesus.

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Related Topics: FAITH
Opinion by Devlyn Brooks
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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