Summary: Rest is not only vital to our spiritual lives, it is imperative if we are to be effective. Through the prayer of rest, God places his children in the eye of the storm. When all around us is chaos and confusion, deep within we know stability and serenity
The Prayer of Rest
The story is told of a lady who became very angry at the pastor. When she finally caught up with him, she said, "I called you all morning at the church and dropped by to see you in the afternoon on Tuesday and you were not there." The minister said, "I’m sorry Madam, but Tuesday is my day off." "Your day off", she said very self righteously. "I’ll have you know that the devil never takes a day off". The pastor said, "you are absolutely right, and I’m sure that if I did the same thing, I would become just like him."
We do live in the rat race don’t we, where the motto of life is ‘go for it’. We have fast food, quick print shops, faster and faster computers, express oil changes, One hour photos, instant cocoa, instant coffee, even instant tea (yuk), microwaves, overnight delivery, express mail, instant messenger, drive thru restaurants, drive thru chemists, mobile phones so that we can to talk to someone right now. We eat fast food and then want fast diet plans. We see our society moving at a 100 miles an hour and we think it’s good for us!
“Busy” is the hallmark of our times. I’ve lost count of how many times I ask people, “How are you doing?” and the answer comes back – ‘Oh, I’m just soooooo Busy”. ‘I haven’t got a moment to myself’. It’s almost like our busyness has become a ‘badge of honour’ – a medal for us to wear. And I’m just as bad! I spend my week frantically darting from one thing to another. You know, many days I will start at 9am in the morning, stop for lunch, stop for tea, out in the evening for a meeting, or a home group, or a youth club, and get back into the house at 1030 at night. And I go to bed to get ready to do it all again the next day! Many of us go through life – chasing our own tails. Often I will say to people, ‘if I go any faster I’ll meet myself coming back in the opposite direction’. And I’m not the only one.
What’s that ditti? ‘Mary had a little lamb, was given her to keep, but then it joined a baptist church and died from lack of sleep’. I’ve said before, my epitaph will read ‘He’s gone to another meeting’.
And I know that it’s not just me. Most of us live our lives in that way. Why do we do it? Why do we fill our days with so much activity, and so much busyness? Everyone is busy! Too many people, places and things are grabbing for our attention. Too many people, places and things are vying for our involvement. Too many people, places and things are vying for our support. This board, this committee, this project, this meeting, this event, this appointment. You know, sadly, all too often the Church just adds to life’s hecticness. “Here a program, there a program, everywhere a program, program.” Someone once said, “The problem with living life in the fast lane is that you get to the toll booth quicker!”
There was a newspaper story about a basset hound called Tattoo. It said that Tattoo hadn’t intended to go for a run that evening, but when his owner accidentally shut his lead in the car door and took off for a drive, Tattoo had no choice. The report said that a motorcycle policeman noticed a passing vehicle with something that appeared to be dragging behind it. As he passed the vehicle, he saw Tattoo. The policeman managed to get the car to stop, and Tattoo was rescued -- but not before the dog reached a speed of twenty-five miles per hour and rolled over several time. Now, for many life feels just like that. The pace of life is so fast and relentless. Sometimes you’re on your feet running as fast as you can go. More often than not you feel like you’re situations and your circumstances are dragging you around by the neck.
Busyness – it’s a curse of western society, it’s a curse of the 21st century. Many people think that:
1: Busy equals important. - We think that if we’re really busy it means that we’re really living life to the full. But in reality being busy cuts us off from the time we need to spend cultivating the important relationships in our life: with our spouse, our kids, our friends, our God.
Many people think that:
2: Someone wins the rat race. But it’s a lie because the rat race is all about "what you do" and God is more interested in "who you are." God will not ask at the judgment, "How busy were you?" What he will ask is, "Are you like Jesus?"