Know Where To Go, Know Where To Rest
According to a Harvard Business Study concerning goal-setting, 83% of the population they surveyed do not have any goals, written, or unwritten; 14% have unwritten goals; while the final 3% had clearly-defined, written goals.
As they dug deeper, they realized two results:
1) The 14% were 10 times more successful than those who had no goals. Numerically, they were 10% higher in their success rate.
2) The 3% were 3 times more successful than those who had unwritten goals. By value, they were 30% higher in their success rate.
Based on this study, there is a significant difference between noting and not noting down one’s objectives. If our goals are much clearer and recorded, we are more likely to succeed, be focused, and less likely to waste energy on activities that don’t really lead to its achievement. Since we’re on the topic of Biblical rest, such an ethic can apply even with our rest periods! We need to know what our goal is so we can plan out how to achieve that through rest!
Our main texts are found in both the Old and New Testament. We’ll look at the latter first.
“24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 [KJV]
In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul defended his ministry as a Christian apostle, for he had come under fire by the criticism of his Corinthian brethren. Towards the end of this portion, he had a purpose (goal) and a method of achieving it (vv.24-27). Note that he was very precise (vv. 26-27) so he would not be disqualified. Basically, it meant that he walked his talk.
What does Biblical rest mean? As we mentioned last week, it didn’t mean zero activity. It didn’t mean staying in bed the entire day and slothing about. No. It simply meant taking a break or stop from labor, or livelihood; meaning an activity that gave you income. Instead, in Hebrew culture, they would celebrate this break from work by preparing dinner on Friday night and celebrating with everyone in their household. It was a time for family and, most importantly, reflection upon God’s goodness during the past days. In order to apply this to resting, its highest goal and purpose can be found in our Old Testament passage:
“8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” – Exodus 20:8-11 [KJV]
It is – quite simply – to obey and glorify God.
In application, how can we do this? Now that we know the goal of rest, here are some methods you can try:
1. Quality time with self – Much of our time in the week is devoted to family or work. Taking some personal quality time for can help with that. It could be an hour of exercise, an hour of watching the TV, siesta, a good video game, or even an extra hour studying God’s Word to relax you.
Someone once said, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just go take a nap. That’s because when you’re physically down, it’s hard to be emotionally and spiritually up.” Take some personal time off during your Sabbath to recharge.
2. Service to others and/or God – Once you’re recharged, it’s time to channel that energy into something productive. Remember that Sabbath doesn’t mean inactivity. It just means a break from work (or activity that compensates you). You can achieve this by doing errands for someone if they ask, or even participating in a ministry during Saturday or Sunday church gatherings.
3. Time with family – Just like in Jewish culture, you can make the Sabbath a time with family where you sit together at the dinner table or in a restaurant and catch up with each other’s lives. You can even share one another’s victories and struggles. You’ll find that this’ll be an emotional- and spiritually-recharging moment.
These are just some ways we can achieve our goal through Biblical rest. If you have any more you can practice that aren’t in this list, go right ahead!
Now that we know our goal (obedience and glorifying God) and the method (rest), here is the challenge. Break the old mindset about rest. It is the one that says you can spend the entire day watching TV, playing video games, and doing nothing. There is nothing wrong with the aforementioned leisure activities. We just need to make sure they all help us really rest and refocus on God. If they don’t we need to stop and renew our minds (Romans 12:2).
In its place, practice the new mindset: being productive so we can obey and make Jesus known even through our times of rest.