Purposeful Rest

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

–Colossians 4:5

At my church I'm blessed with the opportunity to co-teach a Sunday School class. We have been studying through the book of Colossians and we recently wrapped up chapter four. During my last time to teach, I asked myself and the class a question about how we spend our time resting.

As we looked at God's word to us, "make the best use of the time," we considered not only what we spend our time doing and how we should labor hard to invest it in God's kingdom, but we also looked at how we rest. God commands us to rest, however, we can be prone to either spend our time denying ourselves rest, or we can overindulge in it.

When it comes to our rest, more specifically in our overindulgence, there is a searching question to ask ourselves. Do we rest in such a way that encourages and motivates us to press on while joyfully surrendered to God? Or does our rest capture us so that returning to our faithful labor begins to look unappealing? Perhaps you could boil the question down even more. Do I stay submitted to and connected with God during my rest?

I'm not going to lie friends, that is a difficult question to ask. I think it is difficult because it taps into a core issue in our lives. The desire to have control over how we spend our time, especially our free time.

When Jesus spoke about how he was making the best use of his time, he said that he did not come to do his own will, but the will of the one who sent him. Even when he rested, he often went away to be alone and pray. He then came back ready and recharged to get back into action. He rested with the purpose to re-engage and continue in following the Father's will. He was here for a purpose and was focused on that purpose.

We are also here for a purpose. To offer our lives in service to our king. Yet are we people who look to enter heaven fully rested, up to date on the latest binge-worthy Netflix sitcom, and fully aware of all the latest updates on our social media feeds? Do Bible study, prayer, and Christian community have any place in our resting? Are we connecting with God to be recharged for his work, or are we unplugging from God to be attached to the world? Do we quench the Spirit in our rest to skirt as close as possible to loving the things of the world? If so, and I am guilty of it, we need to break away from these forms of rest that captures us, and move into rest that motivates us to do the Father's will.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

Now, before wrapping this up, let me clarify. Do I think that you can sit down and watch something on television, engage in a hobby, or just sit and veg out for a few minutes and do it in such a way that brings glory to God? I do. It depends on the heart behind engaging in those activities and the nature of the content that you are consuming. Does the person thank God for these things in their life? Does the person see God's grace in them? Or does the person jettison all reality of the living God to indulge in them? Does the person forsake the true rest found in Jesus to consume something else and never finds their way to scripture and prayer?

It was very convicting for me to think through this. I hope and pray that as followers of Christ, our rest recharges and refreshes us in such a way that we are strengthened and renewed in our commitments to follow God. Not out of a legalistic duty, but out of a true delight in resting in the presence of Jesus and remembering how glorious he is and why we find joy in following him!

Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. You can find more of them here.