Last week, we got a babysitter so Camille could go have a girls day, and I could hang with my brother-in-law by the pool. While it was quite nice, for the first hour or so, I felt really weird. Like strangely anxious and super aware of all this stuff that could/should be done. Why was it so hard to just chill out?
In America, we often think that what we do makes us who we are. If that is true, then when we rest or take a vacation, we cease to be who we are. We have identity crises!
But the truth of the gospel, what scripture says is true of anyone who is a follower of Jesus, is that we are God’s children. We are made in his image. And, like him, we rest. God himself rested after six days of creation, modeling the glory of identities independent of what we do.
As children of God, redeemed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we are called and even commanded to rest. In the 10 Commandments, the call to keep the Sabbath holy, the call to rest comes before murder and adultery!
Why is that?
The short answer is because it teaches us theology. Resting teaches us that we are not God. We are not the sustainer of all life. The world existed before us and it will barely notice when we are gone. Resting requires us to face our limitations as humans. While the whole world is drinking Monsters and Rockstars (and yes, coffee) to do more and go faster, Christians are called to rest, to say no to stuff, to have boundaries, to embrace our limits and humans.
God, on the other, models for us what it means to rest but does not need to. He has no limits, no lack of energy, power, intellect, time, wisdom, creativity, joy and love. And so the practical act of resting, of not accomplishing anything for 24 hours forces us to remember this beautiful theology.
- Matthew 5:1-9 – Jesus Changes Everything – Hostility and Peace with God
- Matthew 5:17-20 – Jesus Changes Everything – The Law Fulfilled