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3 Reasons Rest is Important to the Christian Life

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • 2016 Aug 10
There are so many things to get done each day. Whether it’s work, school, taking care of family, errands, or cleaning the house, most of our schedules are busy.
While being busy and productive is good, we need to also remember how important, and even biblical it is to rest.
In her article “8 Ways to Cultivate a More Restful Home” on the Revive Our Hearts website, Jeanne Harrison offers some specific ways that show how important a restful home is and how we can make it a reality.
Perhaps you, like Harrison, are someone who thrives off of check-lists and getting things done. God certainly made human beings with the need to accomplish things and do meaningful work. However, our self-made to-do lists can easily eclipse the rest that God may be calling us to.
When we think about rest, it may be helpful to remember, as contributor Vaneetha Rendall Risner writes in “How to Follow Jesus’ Example of Rest” that “denying myself physical rest is not a virtue. It is a form of pride. I’m impatient when I’m tired. I can’t enjoy what’s in front of me. I don’t treasure people. God is inviting me to care for and pay attention to the physical body that He has entrusted to me.”
True rest also goes beyond the physical. Harrison notes that while it may be physically restful to sit in front of the TV watching your favorite show, it may not be the kind of mental and spiritual rest you need.
One way to seek to cultivate a time of holistic rest--the kind of rest that strengthens your walk with the Lord--is to make rest a personal priority.
Assess your schedule and decide when you can prioritize refreshing your spirit in rest. Perhaps this time during the week is on Sunday, but perhaps it is a different day or portions of each day. The important thing is to carve out that time consistently, whenever it may be.
It’s also important to note that a benefit of taking time for personal rest is that it will actually benefit your family and friends as well, and will cultivate a restful environment in the home, because you will be refreshed and better able to meet their needs.
Another important aspect of rest is to find a balance between a clean home and stressing yourself out. It is biblical for the home to be the primary place of rest (Isaiah 32:18), but there will always be more dishes to do, more clothes to wash, or more leaves to rake. An orderly, clean home is conducive to rest and refreshment, but it takes work to get there. Ultimately, we need to remember that obsessing about a perfectly orderly and clean home can be counterproductive to what God may be calling us to.
Which brings us to another important aspect of seeking rest. Sometimes, true rest means letting go of all the things you feel you should be doing. Sometimes, true rest is simply being there for those who need you; praying with someone who needs it at that moment or listening to someone who is going through a difficult time, or perhaps listening to some worship music or writing in a journal. 
This call for us to rest and not to be stressed about the many things we need to do each day is perhaps most poignantly laid out for us in the story of Mary and Martha in the Gospels.
Martha and Mary are two sisters who are friends of Jesus. When Jesus comes to their home for dinner, Martha concerns herself with the household tasks of serving and being hostess, but Mary simply sits and listens to Jesus. Martha becomes angry that Mary is neglecting her responsibility to help host, but Jesus has these words to say to Martha:
“'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:41-42).
Are you acting more like Martha or Mary today? How can you seek to prioritize Jesus above all else, and find rest in Him?
To read the rest of Harrison’s suggestions for seeking rest, click here.
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Publication date: August 10, 2016
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of