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Pastor’s Note


The Work-Rest Rhythm

My childhood summers were spent largely at the baseball field; in fact, I may have done my summer reading with a ball in my hand and occasionally in the dugout! Most of those summer Saturdays consisted of three tournament games to be played under scorching sun with the infield dirt stuck to my sweat by the end of the first game.

I loved those days—playing a game, hanging out with teammates somewhere in the shade for a couple of hours, playing again, finding air conditioning and food for a couple of hours, and playing one more time. The games, of course, were the highlight, but one of the things I learned at a young age was how important the rhythm of the whole day was. If we were going to be in any shape to play Game 3, resting well in those down times between games was vital. Relaxing rather than horseplay, eating bananas rather than hot dogs, cooling off in the shade rather than baking more in the sun—all of the rest we got between games was crucial to our being ready to work hard when we took the field.

As we head into summer, consider what the work-rest rhythm in your own life looks like. For many of us, summer offers either a significant change in the daily routine or a specific vacation opportunity—or both! Here are two principles to consider as you head into summer.

Rest to Rest. God created us to work from the beginning, but He also built into our design the regular work-rest rhythm needed for us to thrive. He did it himself when he rested on the seventh day and set it apart as a “Sabbath.” Giving ourselves the chance to live at a different pace each week and, in this case, each summer is healthy and life-giving.

I can still remember watching kids on other baseball teams getting sick or wearing out by the end of the day because they had played straight through their rest breaks. We’ve witnessed the same realities in workaholic adults beginning to burn out and sleepless students failing their exams.

So, enjoy the break. Relax in ways you can’t during the school year. Sleep in. Savor friendships you never have time for and books you never get to read that nourish your soul in ways you struggle to make a consistent priority for at other times. Don’t give in to the performance-driven culture that would tell us slowing down equals falling behind. God designed us to need physical rest and emotional rest, and that rest points us to the spiritual rest we are looking forward to enjoying forever.

Rest to Work. Without forgetting the caveat above, we can also be thoughtful and intentional with our altered pace of life and our opportunity for rest. Rest can, of course, be abused into self-centered laziness, where we live merely for our own pleasure with no thought toward the work God has called us to do and the people He has called us to love. Even our eternal spiritual rest, remember, will be full of work to the glory of God!

Resting well between games prepared my baseball team to do our best when the next game came. In fact, because we were there for baseball, we ate appropriately for being ready for the next game, practiced particular skills needed for the next game, and talked about how we would approach the next opponent.

We are here for the glory of God. So while your toes are wiggling in the sand just beyond the umbrella you’re sitting under, spend some of your restful time considering where God is calling you to work for his kingdom when you get home. Pray for the neighbor you’ve been seeking to develop a relationship with, dream about where your gifts could fit in the church, think creatively about how you could impact your workplace or your child’s school.

While you’re sitting around the pool with friends, savor those restful conversations with no rush or agenda and also take the chance to turn some of them toward our shared calling. Talk about partnering with Jobs for Life this fall, talk about the new friends you’d like to invite into a small group, talk about the ways God’s Word is challenging your heart to serve him in new ways. I hope your summer is a restful one—to the glory of God!