Is Rest Part of Your Faith Goals for 2017? It Should Be
If you take a look at your list of New Year's resolutions (that's if you have a list; if you don't, it's not yet too late), how many of the things that you've written down do you think would be something actionable? I'd say probably a 100 percent or close to that would be the case for most of us.
The idea of a New Year's resolution after all is to take action—to do something, to reach a goal, to work and to exert all energy you can possibly muster to make 2017 the best year ever.
This may sound stressful and tiring. No wonder many of us burn out halfway through January and just throw in the towel.
One of my personal convictions is to turn 2017 into a year of rest. 2016 was just too much work and I need a break. It was when I was pondering on this that I realised that I had never made rest a goal in my life before. Ever. And chances are you probably haven't either.
We don't often see honouring God's Sabbath as a goal to hit. Maybe it's because we don't want to be perceived as lazy or unproductive. We're fine with not making rest a goal, but I'll tell you right now that God's not. God wants us to honour the day of rest and even commands us to keep the Sabbath day holy.
In Exodus 20:8-10 God commands us, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates."
Rest is so important that it was one of the 10 Commandments God gave through Moses to the Israelites. God took rest seriously, and He still does today. What's the big deal behind rest anyway?
The Sabbath rest has more to do with just pausing work and resting physically. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus invites us saying, "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
God doesn't just want us to stop work, but to stop work so that we can approach Him and enjoy His presence. The reason why God rested on the seventh day was not because He got tired creating the world but because He wanted to pause everything to enjoy His creation.
The Sabbath is more than just a call to recharge. It's a call to grow in our walk and relationship with God by taking time regularly to drop everything and focus on Him. If it is your goal to be able to grow in your walk with God, then it's time you included rest in your actionable resolutions.
More than us deserving rest, God deserves our attention, devotion and affection as we rest in Him. Have you decided to make rest a resolution this 2017? How do you intend to rest more this year?