Rest - The Complement of Work
Mercie Cutting Flower (Portrait of a Young Lady) by Edmund C. Tarbell
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Mercie is enjoying a summer day outside her home. Perhaps it is Sunday as she wears a very pretty dress with lace sleeves and the shadows cast over the sidewalk and grass tell us it's the afternoon. The flowers are in full bloom and our young lady sits arranging them in a basket. With scissors in hand she carefully trims at a rose which she'll add to her bouquet. Her concentration is all on that one flower and she's in no hurry.
When I first saw this painting my heart went out in longing. I tried to remember the last time I had all afternoon to put together a bouquet of flowers. I had to admit that I couldn't remember the last time I had even read a book all afternoon.
It's been one hundred years since Mr. Tarbell painted this. Life today has sped up one hundred fold in those one hundred years. In the Western world we have become like human conveyor belts moving constantly and circling again. It would not be an exaggeration to say today that many of us can't sit still. We have lost our focus to the tyranny of multitasking.
Try for ten minutes to sit still and you might find it an eternity. Do you find your mind wandering over your day and all that needs to get done? Can you stay in the moment long enough to focus on one thing? If you can't, you may need to go back to the class called "REST 1001".
Rest is the complement to work. Being is the complement to always doing. God has created all life to be a cycle. Half the day is light for activity and half the day is dark for rest. There's the spring and summer when all is budding and growing, followed by the fall and winter when the land is harvested and lies fallow. Our muscles contract to pick something up and then they expand (rest) to set it back down. Over and over in nature we see this work-rest cycle.
All rest and no work leads to laziness, indolence and an unproductive, unsatisfying life. But the danger today is all work and no rest leading to neurotic, frustrating lives. Are you longing to get off the treadmill of daily routine so that rest can once again rejuvenate your soul?
Make a decision to keep God's third commandment. It says, "Remember to observe the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God." Exodus 20: 8-10A NLT
Dedicate one day to the Lord and watch how he uses it to renew your life-- your soul. Watch how rest rejuvenates your body and mind so that your work becomes purposeful and even enjoyable again. Give God just one day and you'll find the other six days producing more than you could when you tried to work all the time.