Matthew 11:28-29… “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives” (NCV).
Mark 6:31… “Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves, and we will go to a lonely place to get some rest’” (NCV).
I want to talk to you today about taking a break. In other words, I want to say a few things about recreation. The word “rest” used in these verses refers to an intermission, recreation, refreshing yourselves, and taking a break. The dictionary says that “rest” means “to refresh one’s mind and body through an activity that stimulates and amuses; to impart fresh life into the mind and body.” Rest is a diversion from labor. It’s a time of leisure and of sport; it is freedom for a short period of time from the job and from responsibility. It’s called R&R (rest and relaxation). The Bible calls it “a time of refreshing”… renewal.
Life must have its rhythms. God saw to that in Genesis 2:1-3. There was a period of “creation” (labor) and a period for “re-creation” (rest). All creation (work) without recreation (rest) makes the lives of people dull. God made our inner makeup for both work and play. If rest is part of God’s plan, then it should be chosen carefully. Recreation can wreck just as easily as it can refresh. God has planned both “stops” and “goes” in His schedule for us. It seems today that the pace for our lives is accelerating (even in retirement). Demands on our time become more complex and many people have lost the ability to stop and recreate. God has planned “stops” periodically so that you can become fully awake and refreshed.
Recreation should not be an end in and of itself; it should serve the ends for which you really live. If recreation is the end (goal) which you strive for, it will defeat its purpose. Why? Because recreation can become a drain and become very boring. Very often recreation takes away from one part of your life and adds to another. This is not a good thing to do. Let me explain… If recreation takes away your necessary hours of sleep, it is not recreation, but a drain and a strain. If recreation takes away from you your spiritual and moral life and adds to the physical life only, then recreation becomes a snare and a delusion. Recreation must recreate (refresh) the entire person.
Any recreation from which you have to recover is a false recreation. If your recreation leaves you physically exhausted, the purpose for it in the first place is lost. Recreation should leave you full of joy and life and vitality. Many people spend a lot of money on recreation and it ends up being more expensive; it sapped their physical strength to the point that they became ineffective on the job. Any recreation that just kills time will also kill you. Any recreation into which Christ cannot be taken is not recreation (it could even be sin).
The Lord made one day out of seven to be a day of rest. To make it a hectic day of running around is also a false rest. In Genesis, the seventh day was a day that God came into for the purpose of maintaining your body, soul and spirit. It’s a day for quietness, peace, gladness, and refreshing.
God wants us to use our time wisely. Take a break (rest); a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. A pastor said to his friend one day, “I’m not going to take a vacation this year; the devil never takes a vacation.” The friend replied, “When you get home, read the gospels and you will find it recorded at least ten times that Jesus found time to take a rest. Whose example are you following?”
Pastor George Belobaba
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