PEOPLE OF PEACE
BALANCING OUR REST-WORK RHYTHM
The only way we'll ever have margin in our lives to be the kind of disciple Jesus calls us to be and to have room for making disciples is to follow the "rest-work" rhythm Jesus lays out for us in His Word. This rhythm is found in the combination of three key Scripture passages:
And God said to man, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it, God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
God created man and gave them work to do, but the day after He created them, He rested – and called His creation to rest as well. Rest, then work.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
For God, rest is vitally important. As a matter of fact, rest from our activities is listed in God’s “Top Ten.” The commandment to keep the Sabbath is right up there with “don’t kill,” “don’t steal,” and “don’t commit adultery.”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
This is a rhythm that we must strive to incorporate daily, weekly, monthly (seasonally), and yearly.
Days: Each day should have structure to enable rest and work, relationships and recreation. We need to work out a healthy pattern that prioritizes our life’s circumstances. Example: 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, 4 hours engaging with people, 4 hours disengaging (devotions, reflection, thinking, reading, exercising, television, quiet).
Weeks: Each week should have structure to enable rest and work, relationships and recreation. This will involve at least one day for rest and others for work. Example: 5 days of work, 1 day of play, home projects, visiting people, 1 day of worship, rest, visiting friends, reflection, reading, family.
Months, Seasons, Year: Each “season” should have structure to enable rest and work, relationships and recreation. Example: Seasonal spiritual retreats, vacations, etc.
Here’s why this is so important…
This is the biblical, God-given mandate and pattern for living our best life of covenant connection with God and kingdom effectiveness.
Not doing this strangles our relationship with God, with other believers, and with non-believers.
It helps us to see that we are ineffective in work and mission without regular abiding.
It helps us fight against pride when we see that our effectiveness is a result of abiding in Jesus and not in "white-knuckling it" through our own efforts.
Jesus says that if we don't produce fruit, we will be cut off from the vine and destroyed.
We are told in John 15 to always ABIDE in Christ – whether we are resting or working. As we ABIDE, we are instructed from the Genesis 1 and 2 account and the 10 commandments to develop a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. pattern of rest/work. As we do this, God is the one who PRUNES and produces FRUIT for the Kingdom – not us. We know that we are working too much (“striving” – which we are told to cease doing) if our lives could be described as FRANTIC. We know that we are resting too much (doing too little Kingdom work) if our lives could be described as COMPLACENT.