Rhythm of Rest and Work

A couple of weeks ago I was at a leadership retreat where we were to arrive on a Monday evening and meet with our small groups for dinner.  We were asked to come with a question that we wanted to present before God for the discernment of His will.

I came into the retreat so tired I felt like an airplane coming in for a crash landing.  Our first task was to discuss with the group our questions for discernment.  I could listen to everyone talk but, felt like it was hard work to contribute and talk.  Someone said to me later it was hard to pull words out of me.

It was clear to me that I needed better balance in my life; but I did not know how to even form the discernment question before God.  It felt like a muddle of disconnected thoughts.

Have you ever been so tired that you felt like your life was just a muddle?  Do you long for a deeper relationship with God and more balance in your life?  We inherently know that we are made to work, but our task oriented lives can quickly consume our focus causing us to loose balance and intimacy with God.

We see in the beginning of the book of Genesis that God worked and worked for the sheer joy of it (Genesis 1:31, 2:1).

God works to create and to care for His creation.  God creates human beings and then works for them as their Provider.  He forms man (Genesis 2:7).  He plants a garden for man and waters it (Genesis 2:6, 8).  He fashions a wife for Adam (Genesis 2:21-22).  The rest of the Bible tells us that God continues this work as Provider (Psalm 104:10).  He gives food to all he has made, giving help to all who suffer, and caring for the needs of every living thing (Psalm 145:14-16).

God not only works but commissions workers to carry on his work (Genesis 1:28).  The word “subdue” indicates that, though all God had made was good, it was still to a great degree undeveloped.  God left creation with deep untapped potential for cultivation that people were to unlock through their labor.  In Genesis 2:15 we see God put human beings into the garden to “work and keep it.”

God works for us as Provider and we also work for Him.

Work was a part of paradise.  God created us to live in the cycle of work and rest.  It was part of God’s perfect design for human life, because we were made in God’s image, and part of His glory and happiness is that He works, as does the Son of God, who said, “My Father is always at his work to this day, and I too am working,” (John 5:17).

Timothy Keller says, “Work is as much a basic human need as food, beauty, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality; it is not simply medicine but food for our soul.”  Without meaningful work we sense a significant inner loss and emptiness.

Work is one of the ways we make ourselves useful to others, rather than just live a life for ourselves.  Work in rhythm with rest is one of the Ten Commandments, (Exodus 20:9).

In the beginning God created us to work, and now He calls us and directs us, unambiguously, to live out that part of our design.  This is not a burdensome command; it is an invitation to freedom.  We will not have a meaningful life without work, but we cannot say that our work is the meaning of our lives.

If we make any work the purpose of our lives, even if that work is church ministry, we create an idol that rivals God.  Work and lots of it is an indispensable component in a meaningful human life.  It is a gift from God and one of the main things that gives our lives purpose.  It must play its proper role subservient to God.

Is work and rest in its proper rhythm in your life?  Do you need to take some time to sort through the “muddle” of doing and find rest in the Lord?
I invite you to come join me on Friday evening June 29th for a 24 hour retreat of stepping away from the to-do lists to rest in the Lord deepening your intimacy with Him.  The Lord wants us to find Sabbath rest for our souls so we can find balanced rest in our everyday work, (Hebrews 4:9).  Come worship, learn, rest, and enjoy the magnificent beauty of God’s creation at University of Saint Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, IL.

~ Donna


About “A Longing for More” Women’s Retreat Experience

How brightly does the flame burn for God in your heart?

Are you trying harder and doing more and more?  Is there a welling emptiness in your soul under all of the activity?

Jesus says, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  Does the intensely busy life you live feel like abundant life or is something missing?

We think if we manage our schedule better or say no to more things we will feel better.  This we find does not help with our longing for a way of life that works and connects us to the Someone beyond ourselves.

Spiritual transformation is the process by which Christ is formed in us for the glory of God for the abundance of our own lives, and for the sake of others (Galatians 4:19, Romans 8:29, Romans 12:1, 2).  We cannot transform ourselves into the image of Christ; we can create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place.  Come join us June 29-30 at the USML Conference Center in Mundelein, IL to learn new ways to make ourselves available for the work only God can do.  Cost is $125 and includes lodging, meals, and snacks.  Register by clicking the “Retreat Registration” link above.


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If I register to come alone, will I be placed in a room with a stranger?

No, all rooms for this retreat are single occupancy only to facilitate solitude and reflection.

Can I register a church group?

Yes, register groups by contacting event coordinator Krista Lambert at krista@sothatwe.com.

I have dietary restrictions.  Can you accommodate those?

Yes, the retreat center will be providing meals and is able to accommodate special dietary needs.