- September 08, 2019
- Jared Odenbeck
“When was the last time that you just rested?” My physiotherapist’s question echoed in my ears for days. When was the last time? Before high school? And I was surprised – shocked, even – that my body had continuously put up the defenses of pain, injury, or even surgery, to get me to stop. What is the issue at hand? It is rest.
Rest is not opposed to effort, because rest takes effort. Rather, it polarizes work. Many of us are work-aholics. The funny thing about work is that it does not accord with the Gospel message. Now, there are times when we are to press on and strive and give effort, but these ought not to be considered as work.
Work is done for compensation. Rest is compensation for work – from the LORD. When was the last time we made an effort to rest? Engaging with technology is not rest. Studies have shown that the brain active far more when using a phone than during a calculus problem. Sloth is not rest. Rest is more posture than action. How am I setting my heart? What is my soul aiming at?
This past week before I made dinner, I sat on my parents back porch. I intended to read and to write, ironically, instead of rest. Reading and writing are good things and wonderful spiritual disciplines to pursue, but I consigned myself to them out of duty, out of obligation. As I sat there, the words echoed, “when was the last time?…”, so I put away the Word, I put away my journal, and I sat.
I just sat. I took in the glory of creation, the quiet, and the still. I sat before the LORD in a restful posture, not striving to get anything done or rushing around, or even doing spiritual disciplines, but simply took rest for the soul and the body and the mind. Unsurprisingly, as I returned to my reading and writing, I found clarity of the mind, a heart at ease that desired the LORD, and a soul with contentment.
“I’ve tried everything,” as we bemoan our life and our feelings. Well, “when was the last time?” What about rest?