I hope you are getting an opportunity to enjoy the Christmas Season. As you (hopefully) get some time off work or school, I invite you to consider your theology of rest.
What do I mean? Theology is simply how we talk about God. How we talk about God shapes our beliefs and guides how we live our lives.
You probably find yourself in one of two groups. First, you are mature in your faith and have thought about theology. Second, you see theology as something for the pastor. You understand God is important but you really don’t think about theology. But like I said, it is simply the way we talk about God and how that impacts how we live. Welcome to theology!
I believe rest is a part of our conversation about God. Rest has to be more than just distracting ourselves or sleeping in. Rest that involves God should bring peace. It should provide rest for our mind, body and most importantly our soul.
When I read the Old Testament, I see a system of rest built into the community. There was a day of rest each week, festivals that included rest and even a year of rest for the land. I don’t think it was because God had some vacation bug. I think God wants something deeper in our relationship. God also knows we have a tendency to get consumed by life and don’t take the time to enjoy our relationship with God or those around us. Fast forward to today and I see the Church wearing itself out. Sunday comes every week and someone has to work in Children’s Ministry. Those who volunteer often work full time jobs and are trying to balance families and other commitments. Many people just give up or burn out.
There are some simple principles that can guide us in developing our theology or rest. A great starting point is a verse found in Hebrews 4:9; “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” There is a whole lot packed around that verse that I encourage you to dig into. I am just giving you a starting point.
True rest begins in our relationship with God. Do we have peace in that relationship? When we have peace, everything else falls into place. From that place of peace, we can look at our relationship with others specifically why we serve. Do we serve because of the relationships or the need to feel we have accomplished something? Next, we can look at our time of worship. Is it about honoring God with God leading or is it about our needs and comfort? Finally, there is the practical element of resting, in other words having a day off and even having intentional seasons of rest.
Each one of these elements has a lot more to it. I would encourage you to wrestle with them and consider how you look at rest and your relationship with God. To help I have put together a quick survey you can take. Hopefully it will prompt some self-reflection and more importantly an opportunity to engage God in an honest conversation about rest. Remember Jesus is the Prince of Peace. It will start with him and ends with true rest for your soul.
Self-reflection on Rest
In my relationship with God I have:
Peace No peace
Serving is more about:
When I worship, I am focused on:
Honoring God My needs
God’s leading My comfort
I have a day of rest each week
Every week Never
How long ago was my last true vacation?
__Within the last month
__Within the last 3 months
__What’s a vacation?
Do I build in breaks (sabbaticals) in how I serve? Yes / No
What does that look like?
As a result of answering these questions what do I need to do?
I wish you all a Merry Christmas!!!