Our Bible verse for today: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Overcomers understand the value of rest.”
So far this month in our discussion about “overcoming”, I’ve written primarily about doing stuff. We’ve considered numerous inspiring examples of people who have persevered through tough times and who simply refused to give-up or quit. Yesterday I wrote about the importance of hard work and how it is that Christians should be the best, most hardworking, and most dependable employees in the workplace.
So obviously being an overcomer has a lot to do with your determination to work hard, stick with it, lean into problems, and just push through your challenges. But being an overcomer also requires you to know when to stop and rest for a while.
Recently a friend of mine recommended I read a book that she had just finished reading. It is, “The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath” by Mark Buchanan. Mark’s premise in the book is first of all that Sabbath is a day that we set aside for worship and rest. It’s a time when we stop all the tasks and toil that consumes the rest of life, and we focus on resting and renewing. Mark explains that you cannot and will not be your best if you don’t allow for sufficient time to rest, renew, and restore.
That’s true, but Mark also teaches that Sabbath-keeping is more than just a day, it’s an attitude. Sabbath practices need to be incorporated into all of life, not just in a single 24 hour period each week. “Setting apart an entire day, one out of seven, for feasting and resting and worship and play is a gift and not a burden, and neglecting the gift too long will make your soul, like soil never left fallow, hard and dry and spent … But when I say Sabbath, I also mean an attitude. It is a perspective, an orientation. I mean a Sabbath heart, not just a Sabbath day. A Sabbath heart is restful even in the midst of unrest and upheaval. It is attentive to the presence of God and others even in the welter of much coming and going, rising and falling.”
Like many of us who write inspirational and instructional literature to help others live the Christian life well, Mark is better at writing about it than he is at living it. He admits in the introduction that he wrote the book first of all for himself because he is by nature a driven overcomer who works too much and doesn’t rest enough. This is also why my friend recommended the book for me. (It turns out I already had it on my bookshelf because I read it back in 2006. But since she knows me well, and she felt moved to recommend it to me now in 2018, apparently I needed to re-read it.)
Being an overcomer means working hard, sticking with it, and not giving up. But it also means that you know how to take proper care of yourself so you don’t burn out. We will talk more about this tomorrow.