Why We Need Rest (workLife series #4)
Jason White



Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about how work is good, but sometimes work can leave us exhausted, stressed, agitated, and even cause us to experience medical problems. What do we do in situations like this? Is there a way out? Is it possible to work hard and not feel so drained, depleted, and depressed like we sometimes do?






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Today we get to continue in worship by continuing the series that we've been in called work lives where we've been talking about how the gospel transforms. The work that we enter into each and every single day. And work sometimes can get a little bit stressful though, can get a little bit overwhelming it can sometimes take over our lives. I remember a time like that for me when I was teaching and coaching before God called me into to ministry where my schedule just got completely out of control. I mean, it really did. And I was a typical day, I was kind of getting up around 430 and trying to get to the gym by five for a quick workout. We started tennis practice for the junior high at seven, I had to be there by 630. And then we had practice all morning until lunch, there was a short little break, and then we had JV practice in the afternoon. And then we started varsity practice late afternoon all the way into, you know, 530 or six in the evening. But then on top of all that there was just something that was going on every single night of the week, I helped with high school FCA on Monday nights on Tuesday nights, we had Junior High matches on Wednesday night, it was Church Night, on Thursday night, it was JV matches on Friday and Saturday, it was all day tennis tournaments from like five or six in the morning until nine or 10 or 11 o'clock at night. And then of course, Sunday morning was church. And then we had Sunday night church. And I was just constantly running and running and running over and over again, until I finally just hit a wall. I mean, you know, if you do that, once your schedule gets to be like that, and you just continue to go at that pace over and over and over again. I mean, I was exhausted, I was empty inside, I was easily irritated and got angry and fussy. I was not probably a very fun person to be around during those times. But it wasn't just that. I mean, I even started experiencing some medical issues like I had stomach issues that were going on that were anxiety related. And probably all souls were something that were just causing me to not feel well, because of all that was going on at work and all that I was putting myself through. And so I remember just hitting that wall, and I remember my body and my soul just kind of going stop doing this to me, you're killing me, right? And I know none of you have ever been there and ever gotten busy or anything. Just take my word for it, it can get that way. Yeah, right. You've all been there. Some of you are there right now, you're like you just described what happened to me this morning, right? I mean, this is every day for me and the world that you're living in. And in that may be through a career and the work hours and the things that you're putting in. I mean, it may be that you're a stay at home mom or a dad. I mean, listen, we know that you certainly don't get any rest, right? I mean, kids have to have constant attention and you're always following them around catering to everything it is that they need. And then when you finally put them down for a nap, we know that you don't get to go lay down and take a nap yourself. Because there were things that need to be done around the house that you couldn't do while the kids were awake. And so then you spend your time off just doing more work. And then when you finally get them to bed later on at night, we all know what happens then they wake up like three times during the middle of the night and they put their face like right there in front of yours and like start breathing on you to wake up and you like, are just glad you didn't deck one of them and knock them out right there. Right. But but then you know, you're not going back to sleep after that. And then you have to wake up in a few hours anyway. So you just go out and get up and then they wake up and then you just do it all over again. And so we know that, that whether it's a career or job or work hours outside the home inside the home, we can all get to this place where we just feel like we hit those walls. So what do we do? What do we what do we do with all of these problems we face because of our work? I mean, we've been trying to make the biblical argument that work is good. That work is given to us by God that He created us to work that it's supposed to be a good part of our lives. It's a it's an expression of His life in us and through us to bring Him glory and to bring him honor and to to worship him as we work. It adds value to our culture. It shapes the world in some way that this world that he created and to be a part of what it is that's going on in the world and through the work that he called us to do. And so when we start to experience, the exhaustion, the physical problems, the mental problems that come with all of those things, what do we do with all of this stuff? If work is supposed to be good, and yet it runs us into the ground sometimes. I have a pretty profound answer for you this morning. If you have a pen or a pencil, you probably want to get it out and get a sheet of paper to write this down on Because here's the answer, we rest. Be sure to write that down our E, S, T in capital letters we, we rest. I mean, God created sleep, can I get an amen? He created it because our bodies need it rest is supposed to be a part of our lives. Now one of the neat things about living in the day and age that we live in with all the technology and the scientific research and all of those things is, we get to just take a deep dive into opening up our eyes to see more about how God really created the world and how He created us. And so we know because of the scientific studies and the things that we have access to with brain studies. Now what really goes on when we sleep, did you know that your heart rate slows down when you sleep, that your body temperature begins to decrease, that your body begins to regenerate tissues and heal itself, your immune system gets strengthened. I mean, there's even neuro imaging and neuro chemistry studies that show a good night's sleep helps foster mental and emotional resilience. So listen, God created sleep. What we're learning through all of this is that God created sleep to be a normal part of our lives for physical, mental and emotional health. I mean, as a matter of fact, God even built rest into a rhythm of an entire nation that we see in the Old Testament, because it was so important. And then as we turn our attention, even to the new and him coming to visit our planet in human flesh, God showing up in the flesh, Jesus Christ Himself, what do we even see him doing? Sleeping, right, the God of the universe in a human body took time to sleep. Matthew 824, you know this, there was a big storm. And Matthew tells us suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake while they were in the boat, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sowing logs, catching some z's getting some shut eye, right? I mean, God in human flesh, took time to sleep. But of course he did. We know that he was born into this world, fully God, but also fully man that he had a body just like you and I have a body and God created our bodies to need sleep to rest. So if Jesus himself needed sleep, how much more do you think that you and I might need some sleep? Right? So I'll never forget this one time when I went on this pastor recalibration retreat, Pastor recalibration retreat, and it was filled with some different things to be able to find some rest and to relax and to, you know, spend some time journaling and reading and doing a hike through nature and just kind of all of these things, talking to God through it all. But then in the afternoon, I had a list of free time activities. And do you know one of the things that was listed on the free time activities that I could do? Take a nap, right. And I'll never forget the guy that was running me through this thing, who does this all the time, and kind of specializes in this thing. And he said, Jason, sometimes the most spiritual thing that you can do, is to take a nap. And I said, I need to go on more retreats like this, right? I mean, this is awesome. You did hear my wife just give an amen to that on the front row too, as well. So this is one of those things where Jesus will lead us even though our work is good, even though he calls us to pour ourselves into it in will empower us to do it really well. He's going to lead us to get some sleep. That's one of the things that you and I will need to look for, when we're talking about the life of Christ expressing himself in us and through us is to just go to bed at a decent hour to go home this afternoon. And take a nap. Right? So this is one of the things that we see in the Bible about working and resting. But here's the thing, it's really not just sleep that we're talking about. When we look at the life of Jesus, we do see him taking time to rest he had to he was born fully human. But the other thing that we see when you scan the Gospels is that you see that Jesus was working. He was involved with crowds and ministering to and serving them, but then he pulled away from them. To get some work Jesus had Add this rhythm to his life of work, and rest, not just sleeping, but solitude and times to just breathe deep and refocus. Luke chapter five, verse 16, says Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed, Luke 612, one of those days, Jesus went out on a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God, Mark 630, or 31, then 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 yourself to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place, Jesus had this rhythm in his life, of work and rest. Jesus poured himself into the work that God had sent him to do. He was loving people, and serving people, and teaching people and healing people and constantly serving and doing in ministering to other people. And that work was important. I mean, I think we would all agree that when it comes to work, and I'm making a biblical case that our work is important, there's probably no higher work than the work that God sent Jesus to do. And yet as important as it was, we still see Jesus doing what, pulling away from the work. He didn't constantly just go, go, go, there's more to do. There's more people to heal, there's more people to see. He said, No, no, no, no, let's go rest. So if we see that even in Jesus's life, then I think you and I can expect Jesus to lead us into intermittently rest throughout the day to refocus on him to renew our minds, to who he is, to the fact that he's dwelling inside of us. And he is involved in the work that we're doing. Now, he's involved in that. And don't hear me say that this resting and reading scripture we're praying and renewing our minds is the is the spiritual part. And then the work is the work part. They're both spiritual things. I've been making that case for three weeks that if God created us to work, and He guides us into that work, and he empowers us to carry out that work, then that work is spiritual activity, as well. But sometimes when we get involved in that work, and all that's coming at us with that, we can lose sight of the fact that Jesus is involved in that work with us, when the world is screaming, a different message that that our work defines us and that we are there to make a name for ourselves, and to bring us something that we don't already have in Jesus, we can get lost in it and make it about something that it's really not. And so when Jesus leads us to pull back from that into to rest throughout our day, every now and then and renew our minds and focus on Him, then it calls us back to who we are in Him. What it is that he's doing in and through the work that he's called us to do. So expect Jesus to lead you to pull all the way back, to get to bed at a decent hour, to get a good night's rest when it comes to work. expect him to work in you and through you to stand up from your desk and go walk around, pray, read your Bible, listen to some music. Every now and then if you come by to find me in my office, I won't be there. I'll be in here and I'm walking, I just kind of do laps. There's something about movement, me moving. And I'm praying, and I'm thinking and I'm just talking to Jesus during that time. And it brings me back to a place of the work that he calls me to and I sit down and we can all expect him to be involved in those kinds of things. But listen, there is something that you and I have to understand that is way bigger. If we're going to grasp the concept of biblical rest, it's not just about physical rest, that the Lord will lead us into Jesus will lead us into a deeper rest than that. Because listen, you and I have all had that experience where we finally got a good night's sleep at night only to wake up the next day and feel even more tired than we did when we hadn't gotten the rest. What's up with that? Right? We've all had the time where we've pulled away for some times of solitude and felt really good about the time we spent with the Lord and then move back into the work and the Oles are still there. The high blood pressure is still there. The anxiety is still there. We don't really feel any different. When we walk back into it, you and I have all been on vacation for a full week. Or maybe if we're lucky enough, full two weeks only to come back and be more tired than we were before the vacation. You and I always joke around about how I need a vacation from the vacation, right? So it's possible to get good sleep, to take good breaks, to renew our minds to Jesus, and still be completely exhausted, to be at on rest. Because true biblical rest isn't just about physical rest, we see that one of the places that we see this, I think is in Genesis, right and the opening pages of Genesis when were explained that God was doing work, God was working on creating the universe for several days in a row. And by the time that he finished in Genesis, chapter two, verse two, were told by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing. So on the seventh day, he rested from all of his work. Now, let me ask you a question that God rest from his work because he was tired? No, of course not. The God of the universe cannot get tired, he doesn't get tired, he didn't finish all that work of six days and go, Man, I gotta wipe the sweat off of my brow and catch my breath. Because I'm just physically exhausted right now. He didn't rest because he was tired, he rested because his work was finished, and he was satisfied with it. We're even told that, you know, in the chapter one, just a few verses earlier, God was doing the work of creating each and every day. And he would look back on the day and he'd say, Wow, that was good. And he finished the work of the next day and go to school what that was good, too. And he just kept doing that. But at the very end, Genesis chapter 131, says, And God saw everything, looking back on it all, now everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. In other words, God was satisfied with his work, there was nothing left to be done, because it could not be improved upon any more, he rested, because he was satisfied in his work, not because he was tired. And listen, this is the deep inner rest that God desires for us to have, as well. He actually created us to have that deep, inner spiritual rest at the core of our being. In the very beginning. When He created Adam and Eve, He was meant to be their provider and sustainer, and guide and strength and satisfaction and fulfillment, and meaning and purpose. He was meant to be their source for everything. But of course, Adam and Eve, thought God might be holding out on them. You can have everything that you want to all around you that you see. But don't eat from that one tree. You know what, I bet we would be more satisfied if we could have that one thing we're not supposed to have. Right? And so because God they thought God was holding out on them, they took that thinking they would get more than they already had. And sin of course, entered our world. And you and I have been looking for deep internal rest. Ever since that. Isaiah chapter 57, verses 20 and 21. Tell us that the wicked, but the wicked are like the tossing Sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire in mud, there is no peace, says My God for the wicked. Before Christ, just make this clear. You and I are the wicked. There's no rest for the wicked. There's no peace for the wicked with sin in our lives standing before a holy in a perfect God. Every single one of us are wicked, right? I mean, we could try to make the argument that I'm better than so and so because they did something way worse than I've ever done. But you go stand before God and you're going to fall short. Every time you and I before Christ are the wicked and being separated from Him. There is no rest. There's no deep internal risk. This is what drives our work a lot of the time because there's no deep internal risk. There's no satisfaction. We use work to try to prove ourselves. We work ourselves to death to try to satisfy that deep internal unrest that we have in In our spirit, because that voice in us is saying, You're a nobody, you're worthless, you're not as good as others. And so we try to prove through our work, that we are somebody that we aren't worthless, that we are good, you know what, I'm better than others. And I'll show you by the title, I earn the success I have the money that I make. And we pour ourselves into our work to fill an emptiness that is inside of us. But it never ultimately satisfies, no matter how much we achieve through our work. But listen to what Jesus said in Matthew, He says, Come to me, all you who are weary and burden, and I will give you rest. Take, take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your bodies. Though it says, it's not what says, that's what a lot of us think, Oh, I get to go to Jesus and I get I get rest, I'm not going to be as physically tired in all of those things. He goes, No, no, come to me. And you'll find rest for your souls, you will find that deep inner rest, because it's not found in your work. It's not found in climbing the corporate ladder or earning a certain title or a certain amount of money. Jesus is saying it's found in him, he says, Come to me. Notice that Jesus is not saying, hey, come over here. And in our lead me just kind of follow the down this path. And I'll finally bring you to a place where your situations are better, where your circumstances are better. And then when you get to that point that I've led you to your fine rest for your souls. He says, no, no, no, no, no, I am the rest. Jesus is the deep internal rest that we are missing. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was in an argument one time with the Pharisees, he kind of had a lot of arguments with the religious guys, if you've read through any of the Gospels, but there was this one time, where he was in an argument with the Pharisees about his disciples doing something that was technically classified as work on the Sabbath. You're not supposed to be working on a day of rest. And here's how Jesus replied to them. In Luke chapter six, verse five, he says, Guys, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. I am the Sabbath Rest is found in me, I'm the source of all things I am where all rest comes from. I am where all satisfaction comes from. I am the only one that true ultimate fulfillment can come from. It's who were made complete, and hold in. And he offers us this wholeness. He offers this this deep, internal spiritual rest as a gift he offers himself to us. The apostle Paul says, God made him and Second Corinthians 521, who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God, even though we're wicked. God took our wickedness into himself. He took our wickedness into himself and took our sins to the cross to pay for them so that you and I could be made right with God, again, so that you and I could enter into a union with Him all the time, a constant Union, where we're eternally forgiven, we're made complete, we're made whole, we're made righteous, we're satisfied in him. This is a union that you and I are in that's eternal. We're joined to Jesus, we're glued to Jesus. It's not something where Jesus is up here, we're down here, he did something for us. And the more we achieve spiritually, the more we achieve in life, then we'll get closer and close the gap. And we might not have as much unrest as before, when we start doing all the things that we're supposed to be doing. He's like, no, no, no, you don't have anything. So I joined myself to you and gave it all to you. And you get to enjoy it in a constant union with me where you are joined to me, you are glued to me for the rest of your life, the one who is the Sabbath rest you are in union with so enjoy my rest. He is the one who ultimately satisfies a matter of fact, in Hebrews chapter four, verse nine, we're told there remains then a Sabbath right asked for the people of God for anyone who enters God's rest also rest from their works just as God did from his, if you want to have ultimate rest, this is where it starts. You have to first and foremost accept Jesus into your life come to the point where you realize that you are wicked, that your sin separate separates you from a holy and a perfect God, and there's nothing you can do about it. But that he came to the cross to take everything of your wickedness into himself to die for it, to bring you forgiveness, so that he could give you his very life. But secondly, once you've taken that step of faith, you and I have to know what we have in Jesus, we have to understand the fullness of all that we have in Christ. And many of us don't many of us have been Christians for a really long time. But we've never really been able to experience that deep inner spiritual rest that he is talking about here. Why? Because we never really understood what we ultimately have always had in Christ. From the moment we said yes to Jesus, I don't ever remember hearing anything about union with Jesus, when I was growing up in church, and we spent a lot of time in church, I remember hearing about it, whenever I was an adult, for a lot of years in church, it always felt like the message was God is up here, you're down here, he did something great for you, you owe it all to him, you should be doing all of this stuff. And he's going to you're going to close the gap. And if you don't, he's going to turn his back on you and you're out of fellowship with Him. So you better work your way back into fellowship by making sure that you cry whenever you tell him that you're sorry. And you make sure that you beg for forgiveness, and you got to remember every single one of them before you go to bed. Are you going to be out of fellowship? Because if you miss one, then you're going to be out of that way the whole time. So you hope that you remember him all? He was no, no, no, I'm going to join myself to you so that now you're made right in me, you're made whole in me, you're made complete in me, you have life in me, you have rest in Me. And I'm not going anywhere. So if you and I don't understand that, even though we have it, we have the one who is rest. We're joined in here we have it. But we don't experience because we don't know what we have. We live what we believe that can be true of me. But I believe a lie that I'm not at rest. And it's up to me to close the gap. You're going to live it unrest even though you have rest. And so coming to the place where you know how much you have in Jesus is extremely important. But here's the deal. Jesus was born into this world, again, fully God and fully man no sin. So he had this deep inner rest and his union with God. He's the only one who ever really truly lived the Christian life. Right? Ultimate dependence on God drawing from him. Would you agree that he was at rest, he was at peace there is Jesus wasn't up to doing all of this stuff to justify himself. He wasn't up to all this to go one of these days, I'm gonna make sure that they liked me because I need to be liked. Right? He had a deep rest of who he was and who God was and being in union with Him. But what did God still lead him to do? He still let him to get some physical rest. He still let him to pull away from his work and intermittently rest throughout the day. My point is, is it starts with the deep soulful, spiritual rest that only Jesus can provide. But just because you enter into it and begin to experience it doesn't negate the need for physical rest. He's going to lead us in it's going to work together and all of those things, and you're ultimately going to finally be able to close your eyes and get some real rest and rest throughout the day. When you're experiencing his deep internal rest, otherwise, you're going to rest and you're still going to be tired. Quickly, what does this practically look like? Number one, lead Jesus to look for Jesus to lead you to get some sleep, maybe turn the TV off, turn Netflix off, turn your phone off, and to lead you to go to bed at a decent hour so you're well rested for work the next day, right? Number two, look for Jesus to lead you to rest intermittently throughout the day. Whatever that looks like for you. Get up, go walk around, go outside if you can go turn some music on read your Bible pray. Whatever you do, however it is that he leads number three, get away every now and then for a little bit longer. Take a half day to do it. Take a full Bay journal right? Spend time with Jesus. Go do something fun that you'd like to do. I mean, if God wired you and created you to enjoy the playground of Earth, right, then he'll lead you into doing fun things, right. And again, if he's involved in all of those things, then they become spiritual things as well. Some of the times that I've had my greatest Conversations with God had been on the water when I'm fishing, come back, feeling so rested at Fun, enjoyed it, I talked to God the entire time, I was enjoying something that he gave me a passion for. And I was rested. What is it that he's going to lead you to do in those things, but remember that it's all in vain if we don't experience that deep internal risk that God provides. If you're here today, and you've never said yes to Jesus, again. No matter how much rest you get at night, you take during the day, no matter how far you try to get to a certain point in your life, thinking that you're gonna find rest, you'll never have it until you receive the one who is rest into your life. And so maybe that's the application for some of you today is he's leading you to take a step of faith, receive His forgiveness, receive His life and His rest. And then he can begin to express himself through you in the work that he's called you to do. I want to give you an opportunity to do that right now as you close your eyes and bow your heads