I started this series on rest and I am really not sure why I did. It's not like people were writing me to ask about the topic or that I have taught or written on it previously. It is an issue I have observed or at least heard about as people have talked to me about fatigue, work and the spiritual implications of rest - including a legalistic interpretation of as little activity as possible.
This week I was reflecting on Psalm 116:7: "Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." This is an interesting verse where rest is concerned. It seems the psalmist was previously at rest but had lost it somehow. He began to employ self talk, however, convincing himself that it was better to return to his rest than stay in his turmoil or anxiety.
The psalmist had to come up with some convincing reason to rest and he decided to reflect on and remember God's goodness toward him. The implication is that he should enjoy God's blessings or remember, if things are not good, that God would and could restore his fortunes as before. Therefore, he made the decision to rest (indicating that rest is indeed a decision and not an absence of work or presence of leisure).
I have listened to people over the years say, "I need a break and to get away from work, this place or these people." It always seemed to me that they were talking themselves into a downward spiral, convincing themselves that the only answer for their fatigue was "rest" or a cessation of activity. Whenever I hear that, I also think of Jesus who was tired and hungry until the woman approached Him at the well. When the disciples came back with food, they thought He had already eaten because He was so energized: "Meanwhile his disciples urged him, 'Rabbi, eat something.' But he said to them, 'I have food to eat that you know nothing about.' Then his disciples said to each other, 'Could someone have brought him food?' ''My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work'" (John 4:31-34).
If you are so tired and in need of rest, are you doing the will of Him who sent Jesus and committed to see it through to the end? If not, they may be where your energy is going.
Keep in mind that I am not saying you don't need rest. Rest is not meant to be a refuge but an opportunity to recharge so you can get back in the game of work to fulfill your purpose and finish the work the Father gave you to do. Are you talking yourself into fatigue or into purpose? Are you using work as an escape or chance to replenish? I urge you to evaluate the source of your desperate and regular need for rest and, if it is to serve as an escape, to at least consider that you may be in the wrong work, work that is taking more from you than it is giving back to you. Thank you and have a blessed week.
KENYA UPDATES: I posted two updates from Kenya that will keep you connected to the latest happenings there. You can read them here, then go to my website to make a donation or send a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your help.
NONPROFIT CLASS BEGINS THIS WEDNESDAY: I start teaching a Wednesday night class on July 1 to help you start and run and a nonprofit organization. The class runs for five weeks here in Pittsburgh. IF you would like to attend, write me for details.