By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory: 8 Spiritual Truths for Transformation and Renewal
I remember the exact location in Quito, Ecuador where I said to God, “Lord, I have so much to do for you this week that I’m not going to take my planned day off. Is that okay?” I expected that God would be impressed with all I had to do for him as a missionary and that he’d give me a green light to avoid taking my day off. Rather, I sensed a gentle, loving admonition:
“Joel, I’m more concerned about you and your rest, rather than all you can do for me.”
That day, God was inviting me to the discipline of rest. God was asking me to spend time with him, to renew my mind and body, and come away from the daily grind in order to love him and seek his face.
And something very interesting happened as a result of that experience. I began to realize that as I faithfully took a day off, I would get more and better work done for the rest of the week. After my day off, I felt rested and renewed to face the challenges with far more vigor and effectiveness. When I tried to fill seven days with work, I slugged through those days on very low energy and accomplished little. Far from being a hindrance, I discovered that taking a day off helped me to live victoriously each day of the week.
Peter Scazzero admits in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, that his own church had become toxic in its quest for growth and success. He realized that the church was prioritizing production over rest and numbers over discipleship. Yes, they did produce numerical growth, but sin and strife accompanied those numbers and the church suffered as a result.
Thankfully, Scazzero turned the church in a new direction and began to prioritize healthy living among the members. Among other spiritual principles, Scazzero required that the church leadership take a day of rest. They modeled the priority of rest to the remainder of the church, and the church became far healthier and more productive as a result.
People need to realize that they will have far better health and victory if they will simply dedicate one day per week to recharge their minds and bodies. In fact, without rest, we falter, stumble, and lose effectiveness. Rest, on the other hand, brings renewed productivity, a sharpened mind, and a better attitude. Taking a day off is advantageous to everyone involved.
God knows that tired, restless humans bring stress and angst to others, and ultimately far less is accomplished. He invites us to rest not only for our own sake but also to be more effective in our lives and ministries. Some come to their senses the hard way.
God has never implicitly promised the strength for humans to work without rest for at least one day per week. But the good news is that our energy can be restored, refreshed, and then re-harnessed if we are willing to rest and recharge.