Rhythms of Work and Rest


In Mark 6, Jesus’ disciples report on the work they had done after having been sent out on a mission by Jesus. Here is what we read next, “30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”

Jesus understood the significance of sabbath and how it plays into the rhythms of life, particularly cycles of work and rest. Drained batteries need to be recharged. So do people. The point: We can’t work well unless we rest well.

I notice several aspects to Jesus’ invitation to rest:

1. It is away. There is a physical distance that must be created between work and rest.
2. It is with Jesus. The spiritual aspect of rest is often overlooked, but is vitally important.
3. A quiet place. Living in a techno-ubiqitous world, it is hard to experience genuine quiet. But something happens in quite that allows for a deeper rest of mind, body and soul than is possible with multiple audio-visual distractions. 
4. The implication of time. Jesus seems to imply that a quick power nap is going to work. He plans to give them some extended, slow-charge time for renewal—before the next mission. 

Physical distance. Spiritual awareness. Genuine quiet. Time. These seem to be important, non-negotiable ingredients required for the kind of rest that provides for healthy, profitable, effective work. Yes, the work element in the cycle comes around again and again. It would serve us well to be mindful of the need for the rest element.  

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