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Rest

by Joel Comiskey

Summer 2015

I like to get things done. That’s the way God made me. Yet, several years ago when I was planning how I could do more, the Lord convicted me to stop “doing.” God reminded me that he set aside one day for rest. God made the human body to run effectively for only six days out of the week—not seven. Genesis 2:2–3 declares, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

After those six days, we just naturally run out of gas. If we go against God’s norms, we’ll eventually pay a costly price. I don’t believe any of us are so indispensable that we can neglect our own bodies and souls by not taking a day off.

I talked to one leader who refused to take a day off because he insisted that those who he was counseling needed him too much. He felt it would be sinful to neglect the dysfunctional people who needed him. He couldn’t imagine selfishly thinking of himself and not being available 24/7 for those who needed his counsel. “But you’re not going to help them,” I told him, “if you’re frazzled and burnt out.” He didn’t accept my counsel. Yet, in reality, those who needed him so badly would be better served in the long run if he took a day off each week.

I don’t believe that we need to rest on one specific day (e.g., Saturday or Sunday). Pastors, for example, are busiest on Sundays, and have a hard time resting on that day. Whatever day you choose, the goal is to truly rest on that day.

Your 24-hour day of rest should not have a lot of rules and regulations (e.g., can’t do this, can’t do that, etc.). You will need to do some work, for example, to survive—like washing the dishes and taking out the trash. But as much as possible try to avoid the regular, job-related work that you do the other six days of the week. On your day off you should cease to do those things that are part of your normal work load. Give yourself a break and do only those things that help you relax and feel refreshed. Seek Jesus, enjoy his presence but also make sure you have fun, spend time with your wife, family, sleep, and just relax.

On my day off, for example, I try to avoid anything and everything that sounds like normal work. I only read books that are non-work related. I don’t check my email on my day off, and as a family we don’t answer the phone. My wife and I have both agreed not to talk about stressful, work-related topics between ourselves on our day off. I want to rest my mind—not engage it with the problems and stresses of the other six days. I do sleep a lot, take walks, spend time with Jesus, and enjoy family, food, and anything that is restful. If you currently take a 24-hour day off, what do you find is the greatest benefit of doing so? If you don’t take a day off, what is the number one obstacle for not taking a 24-hour day off each week?