July 27, 2018

It’s been an unusually busy summer for Marsha and I. While we typically have time to rest and renew during the summer months, this year has been filled with various projects and tasks that have consumed much of our time and made it nearly impossible for much rest and relaxation.  Can you relate? 

As summer fades into fall in the blink of an eye, the church calendar really starts to shift into high gear. Many children will return to school next week and that always signals a BUSY time! So, how can we find rest and renew our spirits, even when life gets busy? 

#1 It’s true, the long days of summer will quickly come to a close, but we don’t have to be on vacation to find rest. In fact, how often do you go on vacation and come home more exhausted than when you left? Marsha and I have been proactively looking for ways to rest and wind down, even as our schedules are ramping up. For example, we’ve been taking long walks in the evening and prioritizing “catnaps” throughout the weekend. It might be small, but we are finding that even these moments of rest, scattered throughout our busy days, are making a difference!

#2 When you and I get overly tired, it’s easy to get depressed and anxious because when we’re overwhelmed, worry typically sets in. The next thing you know, you start to lose your enthusiasm for life. The word “enthusiasm” comes from 2 Greek words:  “en”, “theos” – which means “in God, so the word enthusiasm basically means to be in God! Rest can do wonders to restore our enthusiasm for life. This could be as simple as taking extra time for prayer, asking God to lead you and show you ways to incorporate rest so that you can feel his presence.

#3 When we look at what the Bible says about the importance of rest, often the very popular, 23rd Psalm comes up. Several years ago we did a sermon series on Psalms 23 and I encouraged everyone to memorize it. I believe that if you and I can memorize it in our hearts and really understand it, we will be able to affect the way we look at life in times when we are tired, worried, afraid or depressed.  It starts with a simple statement.  David writes:  “The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.”   What’s important to understand is that’s not a petition.  Oh God will you be my shepherd?  No, it’s a declarative statement:  The Lord IS my shepherd.  I SHALL not want.  It is a statement, a fact, it’s a statement of faith.  

Many people misinterpret the scripture as one that is about death, because it is read at so many funerals. However, the 23rd Psalm is actually more about life.  When David wrote the 23rd Psalm he wrote a Psalm that would encourage people to live with courage and confidence and peace and a sense of hope.  It would tell you how to face death but it really is all about how to live life.  I believe that if you and I understand the 23rd Psalm it will affect the way we live.