By Cynthia S.
Summer is synonymous with picnics, vacations, gardening and all varieties of fun. The warmth of this season allows us a little extra time to soak in sunshine, to create special memories and to yield to recreation. Our leadership roles position us to facilitate rest for others, but rarely for ourselves. We understand when our parishioners need a weekend “get away.” We plan for our children to attend camps for relaxation and refreshing. We also notice when our spouses or ministry team need a much deserved break. We value their “gift” and support their need for rest. We become facilitators of rest and not models of it. God revealed His blueprint for rest in Genesis. The task of Creation was extensive. God meticulously landscaped the earth with an abundance of light, water sources, vegetation, livestock and innumerable moving creatures. It took the God of the universe several days to craft such a prototype. Scripture depicts God doing something very unique once the heavens and the earth were finished. He rested.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. Genesis 2:2 (KJV)
When God found Himself at the end of the sixth day of Creation, He did not push Himself to do a little bit more. He did not receive coaching from the heavenly hosts to take a rest. Best of all, the scriptures never indicate that He wrestled with the idea of taking rest. He just rested. God had accomplished His desired assignment and then decided to rest. It’s easy to fall prey to the rhythms of orchestrating, facilitating and making accommodations for others. Everyone needs us. Our families, our jobs and our churches all need us. Just like our Heavenly Father, we assume and attend to our work well. However, our strategy for rest could use some reframing to align to God’s original model. God understood the need for rest. He was entirely responsible for Creation. His work was both well planned and well managed. He created one day at a time and He reserved his energy to ensure that He could perform at optimal levels. The tasks assigned or accepted by us must be pursued with the same safeguards and intentionality. A declared sabbath or sacred time for rest strengthened Him to complete His next set of assignments which included irrigating the face of the ground and planting the beautiful Garden of Eden. He paced Himself to arrive at the pinnacle of His Creation. He sculpted a man from the dust and redesigned his rib into a life partner. Rest afforded Him to complete His assignment with excellence. Rest will surely do the same for us. We are instructed to enter into rest just like our Heavenly Father rested from his work (Hebrews 4:11). God has promised us that His presence would be with us and that He would give to us His rest (Exodus 3:14). Rest was an original design of the believer’s birthright (Hebrews 4:3). Most importantly, God petitioned for all who labored and found themselves heavy laden to come to Him to rest. Creating time to rest is essential. Scheduling it, planning it and doing it is all scriptural. It must be a priority in every season of life. We’ve been given responsibility to communicate as well as advocate for our times of rest. We have a tendency to protect our schedules for wellness checks and dental appointments. Protecting our times of rest is equally important. Scheduled rest is worthy to be blocked off on our calendars or set as reminders on our phones . Summer is the perfect time to infuse more rest into your schedule. Building capacity for rest is necessary whether you’ve been considering a relaxing staycation or if you are headed to a desired destination. It will serve us well to be still enough for rest and to know that He alone is God. He is the only One who is able to meet the expectations of every need associated with our families, our jobs and churches. We must prioritize rest for our minds, bodies and souls according to God’s awesome blueprint and refresh our spirits in this summer season.