Growing up I loved playing basketball. Whether it was playing in the driveway, starting a pick-up game at the recreation center, or competing on an organized team, I always loved being in the game. I loved basketball because it was a competitive and physical sport, but I also loved it because of its fast pace. The game of basketball always has action going on, and I loved being in the middle of it. So naturally, I hated being taken out of the game. In every game, the coach would eventually sub me out and make me take a breather, but I never really wanted to step back. However, the truth is while I didn’t want to take the break, I’m fairly confident now that I needed it each time.
For many of us, life is a fast-paced game. There is always something going on. Many of us have demanding jobs and countless obligations at home. Our calendars fill up quickly with kids’ activities, various hobbies, and social commitments. Things unexpectedly rob us of the little extra time that we do have, such as home projects, pressing chores, and unwanted repairs. All of these things make our days fly by and most of us spend our lives constantly running out of breath. That is why God wants to pull us out of the game from time to time to give us the rest that we need.
David explains, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3). David beautifully depicts our God as a loving shepherd who cares for His sheep. David of course knew plenty about shepherding as he spent countless hours watching over his own flock in green pastures. David contends that just as any good shepherd tends to the needs of his sheep, our great chief shepherd, Jesus Christ, personally cares for every one of His sheep (cf. John 10, 1 Peter 5:4). Part of that care is guiding us to places of rest.
Shepherds would lead their flocks to green pastures and still waters to find nourishment and peace, and our shepherd likewise desires to lead us to places of rest for our souls. For some of us, those green pastures are places of solitude. Many of us recharge by getting away from people and quietly sitting in the presence of God with His Word. Others are revived through the fellowship of other believers, as we leave those times together with our cups overflowing. Some of us find rest in our prayer walks, our journaling, or our time spent in nature. Others are revived through private worship and joyful singing to our Lord. Our shepherd leads each of us down various pathways, but all of them lead us to that same place of rest.
My question for you this week is, “are you finding rest?” Sleep is a necessary part of that rest, but it is not sufficient. I know this because there are countless people who sleep 7-8 hours a night yet still feel restless. The rest I’m speaking of is soul-care. Sometimes we don’t take good care of our souls because we don’t want to be pulled out of the game. But our shepherd says we all need a break sometimes. Even Jesus himself would often break apart from the busyness of His own life and ministry to seek out rest from His Father. And I can assure you if Jesus needed rest, you and I would be fools to think we are exempt.
Some of you are fortunate enough to have a spring break this week. If you are on break, I encourage you to maximize it. Don’t just take a break from your normal life to get busy all over again with something else. Instead, be intentional in finding those green pastures and still waters. If you don’t have a vacation this week, the good news is rest is still on the table for you. You may not have as much free time at your disposal, but you can still carve out time to be renewed by Him daily. Identify that pathway that the Holy Spirit is leading you to walk on, and then take some time this week to find those still waters.
Does your soul need a break? If so, I encourage you to pull yourself out of the game for a breather this week. I look forward to experiencing rest with you this Sunday as we sabbath together at ABC. Have a wonderful week, and we will see you in worship this weekend.
Onward and upward,