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Rhythms of Rest

By Stephen Powell

It seems that every ad, commercial, and spam email is appealing to getting more work done in a more efficient way. “This app will make people think you’ve hired a personal assistant,” “For $24.99 a month, sign up for this course and we will show you how to get more done,” or “Can’t focus and suffer from procrastination? Take our pill and you will get more done.”

I just don’t think God wants us to wring every day dry so that we can produce more and more. The Lord rested and we should too. 

[2] And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. [3] So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2–3, ESV)

While we are no longer under the Old Covenant and not obligated to keep a literal Sabbath (Colossians 2:16-17) or any of Israel’s rhythms, the imperative to rest is still there. While not a direct command, there is certainly godly wisdom in rest. 

We often hear of people using this New Covenant in which we now live as an excuse to be a workaholic because Christ is their rest. While he certainly is (Hebrews 4:9-11), Scripture refers to Christ as our Sabbath rest as it pertains to works of righteousness. We are no longer working under the Old Covenant to attain forgiveness and good standing with God. We rest in Christ because he has finished all of it for us, having obeyed perfectly, without sin. This doesn’t excuse us from following in our Lord’s ways of rest from work. 

Our family has fought for this with more intentionality lately. We are trying to work hard for six days so that we will be free to rest on the seventh. We desire for this to happen on Sunday, when we rest and worship the Lord. We will get our yard work, house chores, shopping, and other weekend duties done before dinner on Saturday. We go to bed Saturday, satisfied with whatever we were able to get done and accept that we won’t touch it again until Monday. 

On Sunday, we prioritize worship and rest. The only work we want to do is whatever is needed to feed our family and those we have in our home, to serve others, and to worship the Lord. We aren’t perfect at this, but we are growing. The angst we feel to get more done, whether from the pressure we feel as we look around us to be productive or from our own lack of accomplishing what we wanted to accomplish, has proven to be a temptation.  But it is good for us to slow down and intentionally press in to the Lord and the people he has given us. 

Consider your rhythms. Consider whether or not you are resting well. Do not be anxious about what you can squeeze out of tomorrow, but rest, pray, worship, serve others. Delight in the Lord and rest in His goodness.
The painting depicted in the featured blog image is one of three art pieces in a mixed media triptych called Caretaker, which was created by former Arts and Worship Intern Leah Palmer in 2021 to accompany a Creekside sermon series on Psalm 23. Leah wrote about the painting: "The clear, still pond wrapped in a soft blanket says, 'God is my dad, walking me to a place of safety, wrapping me in a blanket, and putting me to rest.'"