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The Pause that Refreshes and Refits

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come with Me, let’s take a break and get a little rest.’ (For there were many people constantly coming and going and they did not even have time to eat.) So they got into the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves” (Mark 6:31-32).


When God created the earth and also mankind to tend it, He created it to operate within certain ordained rhythms, day and night, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and seasons. And when it came to the days of the week, God told man that he should labor for six days and then make the seventh day a day of rest.


According to the words of Jesus that I quoted above, there is also a time for Rest and Relaxation that restores, body, mind, and spirit. Even Jesus discerned when it was time to draw a line in the sand and say, “We need a break.” Jesus understood that legitimate times of Rest and Relaxation fit us to be more fruitful in our labors.


When I was a boy, growing up on a Southern Idaho farm, my father would periodically put a scythe in my hand, with which I would cut down the weeds that grew around and between our farm buildings. Another tool that was in my pocket as I cut the weeds was a file that I used to maintain the blade of the scythe.


After a prolonged period of cutting, the blade on the scythe would become dull and when it became dull it took much physical effort to cut through the grasses and the weeds. When it became obvious that it was time to sharpen the blade, I would sit down on the ground with the blade of the scythe in front of me and then hone the blade with the file in my pocket. Once the blade was sharp again, it would cut through the weeds like a hot knife cutting through butter.


Legitimate times of Rest and Relaxation are also akin to a ship going into dry dock, where accumulated barnacles are scraped away, sails are mended, readying the ship to glide easily through the water once again.


The King James version of the Bible states Jesus’ words to His disciples this way, “Let us come apart and rest awhile.” My old friend Leonard Ravenhill, speaking to me of proper times to rest, said, “If we will not come apart for a while, we will come apart after a while.”


Sandy and I just spent a week on California’s Tomales Bay. It was a week designed to get away and rest. During the week, we rode our bicycles, walked the seashore, strolled through the Redwoods, dined out, watched some movies, read books, and since the house in which we were staying is off the grid, we also sought out places to watch the final games of March Madness. Above all, we enjoyed one another’s company in a secluded place. From there, we returned home to carry on with the responsibilities of life and ministry. The blade has been sharpened, the boat fitted again for the voyage ahead.


Allow me to leave you with one last point to ponder, we play so that we might become more productive in our work. This is something that I believe we lose sight of in a culture that seems to be bent on playing.

 

 

 

 

 

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