I recently attended a women’s retreat––two days of rest, reflection, and revival. I needed it both physically and spiritually. It had been a busy year. The minute I pulled off of the major interstate and onto the winding mountain road, I began to relax. The fall colors formed a canopy above me and dusted the roadside with fallen leaves. The temperatures were already cooler.
The weekend nourished both body and soul. Fabulous food and fellowship, with some structured activities and teaching but mostly LOTS of time just to rest.
Our American work ethic places a lot of importance on activity and productivity, even in our recreation, which leaves many of us feeling a bit guilty when we take time to rest. But the Bible is very clear that God encourages and even demands rest. Look at these familiar verses. (All emphasis added)
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 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.
He makes me like down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and “This is the place of repose.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
. . . whoever refreshes others will be refreshed
For I will satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.
If we want to be successful/productive––in our jobs, our relationships, our spiritual lives––then it is commanded by God to retreat so that we can rest, regroup, and even remount a new charge.