Why does God command you to rest? Because God created you to rest. God was so serious about this that according to Exodus 31:15, a person who worked on the Sabbath was “to be put to death.” Science now shows us that working more than a six-day work week is life-threatening. Research shows in great detail the serious health problems, decreased productivity, and increased depression, addictions, and relationship problems caused by working over forty to fifty hours per week. Increased stress from less rest causes weight gain and problems with sleep, the immune system, memory, and more.
God has desired to protect us from this since he first created man. When God called his people out of slavery in Egypt, they had been abused slaves, forced to work long hours under harsh overseers. God was readjusting their lives not to be slothful but rested, so they could give their best and trust him with all that they needed to do. Our responsibilities are important—a vital part of paying our bills and contributing to our workplace and society. All of these have kingdom value. As followers of Jesus, we strive to give our best, but we must also rest.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting enough sleep enables better decisions and fewer mistakes, avoids burnout, improves memory, and helps to recover your focus more quickly after being interrupted or distracted. Once again, we can hear God whisper, “I have been telling you that for thousands of years.” Rest!
Invitation to Prayer
Lord, thank you for enabling me to work and calling me to rest. Thank you for the rhythms you set in our bodies and for them to be productive and refreshed. I do not want to be lazy, nor do I want to work myself to death. I look to you and trust you with all that is on my schedule, and all that my job requires of me, and I know that if I obey your command to rest, you will multiply my time and mind to get things done in a way that also brings you all the glory.