Mumbai Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) | COME REST A WHILE


9th May, 2016
Mr. Francis D'souza (Courtesy Charisindia Magazine) COME REST A WHILE
Its vacation times in some parts of the world, especially the warmer regions. All modes of travel, vacation homes, and holiday packages are in great demand as people prepare to disconnect from their regular routine. At other times favourable locations providing a break from ones daily schedule are preferred. Whatever the reason be, this stretch of leisure from work or duty facilitates the much needed rest for the body and mind. For this reason, employers build in their benefits package something called Annual Leave which allows their employees to take time off from work. Those who avail of this facility are refreshed, rejuvenated and re-energized hence they are more motivated about their work and perform more effectively than those who do not. They are also less prone to accidents and are less likely to suffer from stress, and are regular to work. It has also been found that an employee is most effective when he balances work responsibilities, with family and other interests – this can be done through judicious and planned use of Annual Leave.     
The Bible is not oblivious in this matter; in fact it tells us that God is the originator of the concept of rest which is clear from the third commandment - “Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day.” This commandment which is based on Exo 20:8–11 and an important part of it is God's instruction to work (Exo 20:9), a point often missed. Legitimate work glorifies God and has eternal significance (Eph. 6:5-8) if done in balance with appropriate rest. That's the underlying truth of this commandment. Hence, we can see that effective and God-honoring, work is impossible without rest. Conversely, it can be said that we cannot do our best work with nerves taut or worn-out from constant pressure.
From the following we can see that God not only commanded us to rest but set an example Himself:
  1. God Himself rested on the seventh day after completing the work of creation. (Gen 2:2-3)
  2. He commanded the man, along with his sons & daughters, his maid servants & man servants to do so. (Exo 20:10)
  3. Even animals were to be given rest on the Sabbath. (Exo 20:10)
  4. He goes even further and prescribes rest for the farmland once every seven years. (Lev 25:2-4)
If we are going to serve Christ effectively, we need balance in our lives. We cannot go full speed in the work of the Lord for too long without rest or diversion. We have to counterbalance the seriousness of our mission with good relaxation.
Our bodies are designed to have regular rest, because when we rest, we refocus, and are refreshed. Without renewal, the body breaks down. God did not create us to run at full speed all the time. We may race for a while with open throttle through our lives, packing our time with one activity after another, but if we don't slow down occasionally we are headed for burnout or a crash landing. As someone put it very rightly “Come apart and rest awhile, or you may just plain come apart”.
We see in Mark 6:31 that Jesus invited His disciples who had just returned from an evangelization expedition to come and rest a while for they were tired and moreover people were pressing upon them so much so they did not even have time to eat.  
But there's a deeper spiritual significance to observing a day of rest. We need a regular time to reflect on our relationship with God - a rest not merely for physical renewal but for spiritual renewal.
According to tradition, when the apostle John was overseer in Ephesus, his hobby was raising pigeons. It is said that on one occasion another elder passed his house as he returned from hunting and saw John playing with one of his birds. The man gently chided him for spending his time so frivolously.
John looked at the hunter's bow and remarked that the string was loose. "Yes," said the elder, "I always loosen the string of my bow when it's not in use. If it stayed tight, it would lose its resilience and fail me in the hunt."
John responded, "And I am now relaxing the bow of my mind so that I may be better able to shoot the arrows of divine truth."
Rest is important because of the following factors:
Stewardship factor:
St Paul in his letters to the Corinthians (1 Cor 3:16) and Romans (14:8) tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we are not our own but of the Lord. Therefore we are not owners but caretakers. By not taking adequate rest we could be harming our bodies and thus be guilty of bad stewardship.
Output factor:
We are not only required to bear fruit but bear much fruit (quantitative excellence) and lasting fruit (qualitative excellence) (John 15:16 and Mark 4:8). For this our bodily and spiritual health must be at the optimum and rest plays a very important role in this.
Obedience factor:
The requirement to rest is not an option but a commandment given by God which we are required to obey to obtain His blessings.
For those who are pressed down because of urgency and quantity of work at hand Jesus demonstrates an eternal principle in Mark 6 before feeding thousands with only five loaves and two fish. He called his disciples away to rest, proving that he doesn’t need frantic exertion to accomplish his work. The truth Jesus taught his disciples he wants to teach us:
“Quiet obedience accomplishes more than wild activity.”
With our busy schedules and our hectic pace of life, we too need readjustment. Demands of work, family, and church can require reevaluation. One way we do that is by observing the Sabbath principle - making sure to set aside time to rest and prayerfully refocus our priorities. Jesus, for example, went "to a solitary place; and there He prayed" (Mark 1:35).
When can we pull aside from our activities and prayerfully ask God to reset our spiritual calendar to His Word and His will? Is it time for a readjustment?
Hobbies, vacations, and wholesome recreation are vital to a well-balanced, godly life. We lose our effectiveness by keeping our lives so tightly strung that we are always tense. If it seems we can't relax, Jesus may be inviting us to take a break-to "Come aside . . . and rest a while."
In the meantime we can enjoy the rest. The quiet times are opportunities to quiet our souls and compose ourselves for the measures that lie ahead. The rest is not a mistake, nor an omission, but a necessary part of the symphony God wrote in the beginning and is conducting for us every day
What responsibilities are pulling on you today? It is certainly acceptable to plan some rest and relaxation time to rejuvenate your body and soul for more fruitful service to others. Jesus advised it, and we all need it.