I just flew back from vacation and, boy, are my arms tired (cue the drums: ba-dum chsh.) In all seriousness, I have just returned and it was a wonderful break. My family and I were able to enjoy some time together and away from our usual routine. I ate too much, spent too much money, and tried my best to soak in every moment. I also slept well trusting that all would be well in my absence. That last part got me thinking. The church goes on, and the church does not rely solely upon me. Instead the church relies upon our Lord Jesus, and all of us play a role in Jesus’ mission. I was able to rest because I trusted the people who helped cover my role and even more importantly because I trusted Jesus.

Times are stressful. Our jobs are stressful. Western culture seems to thrive on the ideas of immediacy and importance. Everything is important and everything needs to be accomplished immediately. I am a worrier. I make lists to help me feel like I have control. I often find myself unable to sleep thinking of something that did not make my list or that was left unfinished on the list. Vacation was the time that I was able to lay down the list. I even made an effort to avoid my phone as much as possible. Technology allows us to have instant access to information and to work from almost anywhere at any time. This year’s vacation made me consider how God intends us to work and rest.

You are probably familiar with the creation story and how God rested on the seventh day. You are probably familiar with how this Sabbath day was given to us to honor and to keep holy. Lots of different ideas exist about which day and how, but let us start with the simple idea that God intends us to rest, just as God rested. Jesus took time away from the crowd for rest and prayer and so should we. God intends for us to keep a healthy relationship with our work because it keeps us in a healthy relationship with God.

Resting is hard for some of us. Resting is hard because we start to believe that if we are just smart enough or work hard enough all will be well, but the truth is that we are not in total control. Resting requires us to trust God. Resting requires us to trust others. Resting requires us to realize that God is sovereign over us and that we need others. Resting or Sabbath puts us in a correct relationship with God. The amazing thing about God’s love is that we, in the grand scheme of history, are insignificant and yet God loves us. God loves each and every person and God loves us communally together, not because of what we are capable of and not because we work hard, but because we are God’s children. None of us are so important that all will collapse without us. God rested so that we might learn to rest and trust God. 

Vacation is great but what I learned over this last week was that I need Sabbath every week. I need time to rest and trust. I need renewal, not just of my energy, but of my faith. I hope that in reading this little article you may consider Sabbath again. I hope that you consider taking a break from life and renewing your trust in God. God’s love for all includes the desire for us to rest in that love.

So I want to encourage you to join me in making time to rest in the love of God each week. Let us set aside some time to remember the love we are offered and the love we are called to share. 

I pray that, whatever stress you are experiencing, you may find comfort in knowing God calls you to rest, trusting God.  Amen.   

Refreshed,

 pastorjimmy@nolensvilleumc.org