by Jessica Helfrich
We live in a world consumed with instant gratification and busyness. People are obsessed with accomplishments and rest gets pushed to the backburner. As I reflect on different times in my life, I see seasons when I’ve had a performance mindset. I have focused on all the things I was doing for God, instead of taking time to rest in Him. While doing things for the Lord have their place, our first and greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). We can better love Him and ‘love our neighbor as ourselves’ (Matthew 22:39), when we are fully known by Him. We are fully known when we spend time resting in Him.
In Mark 6, just before Jesus feeds the five thousand, Jesus requests that the disciples rest. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place”. (Mark 6:31-32). The crowds arrived before they did, and Jesus fed the crowds before the disciples had the chance to rest. And then later, in verse 45, “Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd”. Jesus knew their need for rest. We have the same need as the apostles, to spend time with the Father and be refreshed through rest. We cannot most effectively do what He has called us to when we are not resting and being filled up by Him.
Rest looks different for everyone and can take on many different forms. It doesn’t have to be a lack of doing anything but doing what brings you life and energy. While there is a necessity for time alone with God, rest does not always have to be alone but can be with people you love. For me, rest looks like spending time in nature, seeing the Lord’s goodness through His creation. It also looks spending time with a friend, playing games, reading a good book, and painting. For more about this topic, I recommend reading Ruth Haley Barton’s Sacred Rhythms, chapter 2 on Solitude and chapter 8 on Sabbath. Brothers and sisters, let’s rest and be rejuvenated by the Lord today. ■
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Helfrich is one of three year-long Ministry Residents serving at Eastbrook Church this year. She is serving in the areas of Adult Discipleship and Congregational Care.