teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name... psalm 86:11

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Last night I found myself with some much needed quiet and much needed space… so of course I decided to fill it. Because that’s what I do. Ironically, I filled this time and space by listening to a message from our old church called “An invitation to rest.” I figured, since I don’t know how to rest, I might as well listen to a sermon on it… logical, yes?!

In his message, our pastor shared a conversation he had had with his wife where he asked her what she thinks of when she hears the word “rest”…

Her response: the cross.

Say what?! Now, I have to be honest here. When I hear the word “rest” many things come to mind, but the cross is not one of them. Far from it in fact. This pastor’s wife thinks of naps, a good book, breakfast in bed, a day with absolutely no obligations… so I was intrigued by why she thought of the cross instead…

It was on the cross that Jesus uttered his last words this side of the resurrection, “It is finished.” These are powerful words if we stop and think about it. There is nothing more we can do to add to our salvation and there is nothing that can be done to take it away. In this phrase is our invitiation...

We live in an overworked and distracted culture that doesn’t prioritize rest. We never cease striving and doing... whether in work, in life, or in faith... which speaks to the reality that deep down we look to our achievements and accomplishments for our worth and value.

Learning to prioritize rest goes against the grain of culture… it’s shows an understanding that we are not defined by our performance, but rather we are defined by who God says we are. And God says that we are loved, we are provided for, we are made strong in our weaknesses because of Christ in us… the same Christ who said, “It is finished.” Stopping the striving and learning to rest shows that we admit we are not gods and that the world will go on without us. It’s humbling to recognize our limits… but it’s also incredibly freeing.

In John 6, Jesus is asked “What must we do to be doing the works of God?” And Jesus’ answer is this: “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” The word believe means to rely upon and rest in. God wants us to just stop and be sometimes. Rest is a holy thing.

God Himself exemplified this for us when, after creating things for six days straight, He chose to rest on the seventh day. The rhythm of Jesus’ life demonstrated rest as well… He would rise to the demands of the crowds that sought Him, but the gospels tell us repeatedly that He would then retreat for rest.

Prioritizing rest honors God and His image in us. May we learn to see the value of rest and allow ourselves to press pause on occasion. And when we do find the courage to rest, may God use that time to renew and refresh our spirits...


  1. Hi Denise - great post. I think I feel too guilty to rest. Its like there is always something else to get done. But God instructs us to believe and it will all fall into place. What we must be doing and when we should be resting. Great encouragement!
    God bless and have a great weekend

  2. Wow great post! I love the thought of rest reminding me of the cross because that is where all striving stops. wow. There is nothing more we can do, it is finished. Great thoughts, thanks for sharing!!