From the pulpit: Rest should rank high on spiritual priority list

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2008

BY MARK DAVENPORT / Guest Columnist

Half of the year is already history. It won’t take long for the other half to become history either. Time is flying — time always seems to fly.

Summer used to be a time of rest and relaxation. Now, mostly summer is busy too. The school calendar keeps creeping in on summer months and all we have is June and July to cram in vacations, church and sports camps, mission trips, visits to the lake or whatever other activities we might want to enjoy.

Mostly when I think about summer anymore it’s with a sense of trepidation. I know how busy, how tiring, how exhausting summer is going to be. Quite frankly, I’ve already started looking forward to school starting again so that some semblance of normal returns to our schedule. And thinking like that makes me upset at myself, Thinking like that makes me sad. I suspect you — like my family and me — are strained, too. Everyone is tired, almost give out. I don’t think we pay enough attention to the rest we need. Rest and re-creation is important.

In the gospel of Mark there is this wonderful advice given by Jesus. Jesus gives this advice to himself and to those who are doing kingdom work with him.

So, many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rests.’ They left in a boat for a place where they could be left alone.

Even Jesus needed to get some rest.

So, I want to ask you to take a look at your life. Are you tired? Are you weary? Do you feel beat up and beat down? Are there never enough days at the beginning or the end of your week to get done all that you think needs to get done? I’m not talking about spiritual weariness here. I’m plain talking about physical weariness. I want you to consider whether or not you’re tired. And, I want you to think about ways that you can better utilize your time so that you can get some rest. Without good rest and activities that re-create, all of us are going to function physically and spiritually at some level that is less than our best. We all need some rest — some re-creation. Both are gifts from God to us so that our bodies and our minds and our spirits can be restored.

Here are a couple of quotes that speak to rest and re-creation. Vance Havner, a 20th century devotional writer, writes, “Jesus knows we must come apart and rest awhile, or else we may just plain come apart.”

Does that quote speak to anyone’s life?

St. Iraneaus, Bishop of Lyons in the second century, writes, “Recreation is not the highest kind of enjoyment, but in its time and place it is quite as proper as prayer.”

Slow down, take a deep breath a look around and get some rest. The work of the kingdom is ongoing. God needs you at you’re rested, re-created, physical and spiritual best.

Mark Davenport serves as pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster (Cumberland). He can be reach by phone at 663-3152.