Devotion: The Gift of Rest
The summer months fly by. We are really good at keeping ourselves busy - but set a goal this summer to rest in God's word. Photo: Alysa Bajenaru, Unsplash
BY Amy Kopecky
It seemed like it would never get here during all the May snow, but summer is finally arriving! After a long year of studying, training, teaching, and working, you’ve earned a new swimming suit and some relaxation in the sun.
Some of us look forward to slowing down in the summer - spending time with family and friends at barbecues, lounging by the pool, taking a trip or two, and sleeping in. For other people, it actually means cramming as much as possible into the short season: a summer job, classes, athletic training, trips, Pinterest, movies, an impossible bucket list, and all the ice cream.
As you plan your summer days, consider treating them as a gift of rest from God for hardworking students and teachers. If the school year is the six days of creation, the summer is the seventh day of stillness.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2-3).
If the God of the universe who holds galaxies and spins planets and breathes life takes a rest, how much more should we! Genesis shows us that it is sacred to form a rhythm of work and rest. In fact, God made it one of the Ten Commandments. He said to remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy because it is a Sabbath to the Lord. (Exodus 20:8). Rest keeps our bodies and minds healthy, but it also reminds us that our days belong to God, and he alone gives us the ability to live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Of course, this is easier said than done. Suddenly pausing after such a busy school year can feel strange and uncomfortable. It feels a lot like putting aside your phone for a few hours, which can initially cause anxiety or restlessness. But as author Bob Goff says, “God isn’t going to try to shout over all of the noise in our lives.” Filling our days with meaningful activity is good, but if we don’t purposefully create moments to slow down, we may miss God’s voice.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:7a).
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to [his disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place” (Mark 6:31-32).
This summer, accept God’s gifts for you and listen for his voice. Try to be intentional about creating a daily and weekly rhythm for yourself that mirrors God’s rhythm. Work hard and play hard, but then allow yourself time to be still. Don’t overcommit yourself. Pray and spend time in God’s Word. Be silent with Him for five minutes and increase that time a little bit each day. Be fully present in a face to face conversation with friends and family. Above all, allow him to bless and rejuvenate you!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the season of summer. Help me to fully receive the Word you speak to me, the grace you breathe in me, and the power you give me through Your living Spirit. Help me to be still and know that you are God.
“Here,” performed by Kari Jobe, written by David Leonard, Kari Jobe and Leslie Jordan
Joy can be felt with a huge smile, fireworks in a summer sky, a warm hug, tickets to a great game, dinner with friends, and so much more.
Devotion: The Parable of Risk
Here’s the surprising truth: our inadequacies don’t surprise God. In fact, they’re a blessing. He called us knowing we would need to rely on Him.