View From a Pew – August, 2023

Reflecting on the Spiritual Discipline of Rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Today, the spiritual discipline of rest is a challenging one.  We are pressured to cram more and more activities into fewer hours.  This has been described as ‘hurry sickness’ and is an enemy of our spiritual life.  August is a month for resting, and so is a good time to look at this discipline.

God instituted the discipline of rest in the creation of the world.  He created everything in six days and rested on the seventh (Genesis 2:3).  He instituted the Sabbath, a weekly day of rest (Leviticus 23:3).  However, it is helpful to draw a distinction between busyness and being hurried.  Busyness is an outward condition, while hurry is about our inner state, resulting from too many competing priorities.  Jesus was often busy but never hurried! What questions should we be asking about getting more rest?

Balancing Rest and Work:

What is a helpful rhythm of work and rest in our lives?  How can we take seriously the Sabbath principle of having one day a week to rest and not work?  How might we use our time differently, for example, taking a long walk or having an unhurried conversation with a friend?

Using Our Leisure Time Creatively:

When we do take a break, we often end up simply watching television, surfing the net, shopping unnecessarily or eating when we are not hungry!  Can we choose leisure activities that really refresh us?  It’s not a case of more leisure time, but using the time we have more creatively.

‘The solution to an over busy life is not more time.  It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.’ 

(The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry:  John Mark Comer)


The feature image for this post is of St. Michel de Rupe Church, Brentor, Devon. Copyright Meres & Meadows Messenger.

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