As I’ve gotten older, and now am firmly into my middle-aged years with two young children, one of the best epiphanies I’ve had is finally realizing the importance of a good nap. These brief moments of respite that most of us fought tooth & nail as kids are perhaps the most under-appreciated parts of our youthful years.

Now I’d do just about anything to find 30 minutes to slip away in the middle of the afternoon for a brief respite, only to find myself instead reaching for another pour of the delicious nectar of the gods that we call ‘coffee’.

But the painful truth is this: We don’t live in a restful culture. Instead, we live in what could better be described as a hustle culture. 

“Time is ticking…”
“You’ve gotta do it while you can!”
“You can sleep when you’re dead!”

But just as the Kingdom of God propels us toward values that seem opposite of the world we live in, so it is true in the realm of rest. Jesus Himself modeled what the perfectly balanced lifestyle looked like – one that was both equally productive (in the most spiritual and ministry-related sense), meaningful, and restful. He didn’t come just to wipe away the sins of the world, but to also give us the perfect image of the most meaningful life possible.  

In one particular instance, in Mark 4:38, while His followers were terrified of the storms whipping their boat around the waters, Jesus is napping! In fact, when He did wake up, He simply stands up, gives a command for the storms and waters to calm, scolds His followers for being afraid, and then moves on.  

Jesus had all the reason in the world to live a ‘hustle-culture’ kind of life. He had the weight of the sins of the world on His shoulders, was a well-known historical figure, and had a reputation nearly everywhere that He went.  

So the question is this… Why do we feel like we are too busy to take time to rest? Are we more important and more irreplaceable than Jesus Himself? Are we more relied upon than the God who created for 6 days and then took a day of rest? Are our egos too fragile to take a day off and create spiritual balance and rhythms into our lives to regain a healthy spiritual perspective? 

Or are we simply products of our modern environment, moving forward with the ethos of the day that demands we keep ourselves busy lest we be seen as not important or successful enough? 

My prayer for us all this week is that we may seek to align our values with God’s values and to realize that we can be momentarily successful in our own culture, while vastly missing the mark on who God is calling us to be. May we all be courageous enough to find moments of rest without feeling bad about it, because that’s what Jesus did… And our goal is to live more like Jesus.
-Pastor Dusty