Is it really that important to rest? The short answer is an emphatic, "Yes!" And we need not look further than the example of Jesus himself to see its importance.
Jesus often retreated on his own for rest. We see it over and over again in the gospel records (Luke 5:16). On one occasion, however, just prior to Jesus' miraculous feeding of the 5,000, he did something a little different—he withdrew with his disciples so they could all rest together (Luke 9:10; cf., Mark 6:31). It came on the heels of the disciples being sent out village to village to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1-6, 10). Undoubtedly, it was an intense time of extended ministry; the first thing that was necessary afterwards was rest.
It gives us a lesson on the importance of rest, which we desperately need in our day and age.
Have you ever noticed how our culture greatly values being busy? We tend to value things like long work hours, which we interpret as a strong work ethic. We flood our kids' schedules with a variety of extracurricular activities. We even jam-pack our weekends with activities to do as a family. For a lot of us, it's challenging to slow down and genuinely rest. Don't get me wrong, activity is not necessarily a bad thing. But if we're not careful, an overabundance of busyness can quietly and unnoticeably creep into our hearts as a cultural idol, and we suffer burnout as a result. In many ways, a lack of rest harms us physically, mentally, and spiritually.
This week, let's look to the example of Jesus seeking rest for himself and his disciples. And let's remember: The rest Jesus sought wasn't merely a time of inactivity. More often than not, it was a prayerful time of spiritual refreshment with the Father (Luke 5:16). My hope for us is that his example will encourage us to find moments of prayerful rest in the midst of our daily and weekly activities. May we find moments of intentionally drawing near to the Lord, who is our Refuge and Rest (Psalm 34:8; 46:1; 62:5). And as we do, may the Lord himself restore, renew, and recharge us to do all that he calls us to do, for his honor and glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11).