Christmas break is one of my most cherished times of the year for so many reasons. At the center is the celebration of the birth of Christ and what that means for us. There are parties, cookies, hot chocolate and sledding, and for our family – a lot of game nights. One of those games that we have played throughout the years is a game called Jenga. For those not familiar, it is a balancing game. To start, a player stacks the blocks into a tower. Then, each player takes a turn removing a block from the tower. The object is to not collapse the structure. The key is to find the center of gravity and pull a block accordingly. Of course, you can pull only so many blocks from a tower before the integrity of the building is lost and it collapses.
Often times I ineffectively live my life with this same strategy. One of the main reasons I love Christmas break is the time it gives me to refocus. I often take the time to look back at our homeschooling from the past few months to see what is working and what isn’t and make changes. There is time to reconnect with friends and family. My morning quiet time becomes less rushed. Basically, it gives me time to build myself up and put everything back into balance. If only life would remain like this. Unfortunately, all vacations come to an end – school, careers and activities start back up, flu season arrives, unexpected bills occur and major life stressors happen. The slow and gradual rumble sends some blocks tumbling and the tower begins to sway. So how do we keep our building’s integrity when life pulls out the blocks?
The answer is obvious and yet so often ignored in our busy lifestyles.
We need to take time to recharge – all the while keeping Christ as a strong foundation.
The Bible gives us plenty of examples of the importance of rest starting from the very beginning of scripture all the way through the life of Jesus. Let’s look at the first mention of it in the Bible:
“So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested from all His work that He had done.” (Genesis 2:1-2 HCSB)
The Hebrew word for rest is shabath and it means to cease, or stop labor, or even to celebrate. Yet, Exodus 31:17 gives us even more insight into this verse:
“It is a sign forever between Me and the Israelites, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” (HCSB)
God was refreshed,
in Hebrew naphash, meaning to breath or to be refreshed as if by a current of air. So, if God takes the time to refresh and repeatedly reminds us of the need to do so throughout scripture, why do I consider my to-do list of such great importance that I often ignore my need for it? Why do I push hard all the while looking towards summer and winter break to put my life back in sync?
How would my life change if I truly took the time once a week to restore myself spiritually and physically? I suspect, my building integrity would be a lot sounder – not swaying at the loss of a block or two. In this time of new beginnings, I would like to propose a challenge to you and myself to be more intentional about finding our rest. Let’s take time once a week to dive deeper spiritually and find ways to bring a breath of fresh air into our lives just as the Lord has modeled for us.
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” (Mark 6:30)
How about you? How do you take time to rest and restore?
Until next time,
Smith, C. “Sermon Notes for Exodus 31:12-17 by Chuck Smith.” Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 1 May, 2005. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/smith_chuck/SermonNotes_Exd/Exd_31.cfm