Friday, February 3, 2017

The Need for Rest

Chuckle: A Sunday School teacher said to her class: "Now children, you must never do anything in private you wouldn't do in public." "Hurrah!" shouted one little boy -- "No more baths!"
Quote: “The best of all medicines are rest and fasting.” --Benjamin Franklin

Then Jesus said, "Let's get away from the crowds for a while and rest" (Mark 6:31 NLT). "For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD" (Exodus 31:15 NIV).
The need for rest is evident in all of God's creation. Even Jesus needed to rest, and He called his disciples to come away from the crowds and rest for a while. After He had created the world, God gave the Sabbath as a day of rest holy unto Him. As described in the Old Testament, farmers worked the land for six years, but during the seventh year, the land was allowed to rest. Even today, farmers lay aside land to rest (lie fallow) and allow the soil to replenish its nutrients between crop plantings. People, animals, and even some inanimate things suffer from fatigue.
During my career in the U.S. Army, I was a pilot and flew both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. The term "metal fatigue" is a quite familiar to those in aviation. Engineers have discovered that repeated stress and pressure, known as "load-unload cycles, causes metal parts to become weakened. When this fatigue happens, the affected parts must be repaired or replaced before they actually fail and cause a disastrous accident. You can see metal fatigue for yourself by taking a paper clip and bending it. You can bend it several times without it loosing a noticeable amount of its strength, but if you continue to bend it back and forth, the metal weakens and eventually snaps. Evidence suggests that machines of all types will have longer life if allowed to rest periodically.
Our armed forces have long recognized the need for rest for military personnel. After a prescribed number of months in combat or unaccompanied duty, soldiers are often authorized to take an “R & R.” This free time away from duty is called rest and recuperation, rest and relaxation, or rest and recreation. Emphasis is on the need for rest from stress and fatigue.  
I've heard this universal need for rest called, "The Sabbath Rest Principle." God knew we could labor for only so long before requiring a period of rest. But, in our society we tend to admire and reward those who work the long hours even as they risk damaging their health and/or relationships with our Lord and their own families. The word, "workaholic" has been coined to describe those who are addicted to their work and allow it to become more important than personal relationships and their own need for rest and relaxation. Too much stressful work can bring on serious fatigue, and if proper rest does not occur, we too will eventually snap.
God honors hard work to provide for our families, but greed and selfishness can easily cause us to become so busy that our health is threatened. If we continue, we may be forced to rest in a hospital bed. We would be wise to honor God's instructions to rest and honor Him. God's creation took six days and He rested on the seventh. We are to work six days and rest on the seventh. How about you? Do you get enough rest and relaxation? Is the Lord's Day a day of worship and rest for you and your family?
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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