For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15a
It is often tempting for me to think that if I am not working I am lazy. Whether this be with work inside my home, at my ‘desk’ job, or in the gym. I feel like I have to be doing something in order to be accomplishing something. But this is not Biblical. Yes, there are many verses that outline and describe the importance of diligent work. Even the commandment on keeping the Sabbath begins with “For 6 days you shall work…” So yes, working is important and necessary to get things done, in our homes, in our offices, in our faith, and in our fitness. But rest is also necessary to get things done. In fact, it’s what actually makes us stronger.
From a fitness perspective, we know that lifting weights and resistance training helps us to build muscle strength. Many of us however, do not realize that it is not the actual lifting of the weight that builds the muscle. It is the recovery/rest period after the work that the body uses to repair- and strengthen- the muscle. The weights themselves actually damage, or tear down the muscle. During the recovery and rest phase, when outwardly it may seem like we are being ‘lazy’ that day, is the time when the body is doing the ‘work’ of building the muscle as it repairs it.
This is a lesson for us in our faith-building as well. We often feel like if we are not working diligently through volunteering or serving in church, running a ministry, or going on mission trips, that we are not getting strengthened in our faith. For me, I feel like if I am not constantly doing a new Bible study or pouring through the concordances for that deeper engagement of my mind, then I am not getting stronger. But this is a slippery slope. Similar to fitness, if we work and push harder all the time, we miss the quiet rest that God has given us through His Holy Spirit. Yes, I can read through the book of Acts in 2 weeks, but if I am just working to get through it and not resting in the truths of it, then it is not helping me strengthen my faith. Yes, I can serve my church in a variety of ways, but if I do not take the time to rest in a quiet time, praying, for example, I can easily get burned out, and possibly weakened and injured.
I don’t know about you, but whether it be in faith or fitness, I don’t want to be sidelined because I am afraid to sit out. I want to remember God’s word in Isaiah 30:15 that reminds me that my strength is found in quietness and rest, returning to Him before, during, and after my work, is what will save me and make me stronger. For it is only when we are safe and strong that we can truly do His work. So don’t be afraid to rest, sometimes the best “work” is in the “rest” work!