As health-conscious Adventists we put a lot of emphasis on what we eat, while rest also plays a vital role in our physical and spiritual well-being. In 1 Kings 19 Elijah is stressed out, feeling like he is all alone in his spiritual battles. Finally he runs away and then prays an unreasonable prayer, asking God to just let him die. (Interestingly, Elijah, the one man who asks to die never gets to die!) God does not chastise Elijah for his foolish prayer. God realizes the reason Elijah is so unreasonable is because he is simply tired. Elijah just needed rest.
Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. 1 Kings 19:5 NLT
When I became a literature evangelist years ago, we had a meeting with an elderly retired literature evangelist. He shared his wisdom with us, telling us that the cure for a discouraging hard day may simply be a good night’s rest. He claimed a good night’s rest can solve a lot of problems. A while later I had a terrible day at work. It seemed everything was going wrong, and no one was helping me. I came home ready to quit. Early in the evening I was preparing my resignation in my head. Then a thought came to me. Just go to bed. But it’s too early for bed I thought. Again the thought came, just go to bed. Don’t plan anything. Don’t make any decisions. Just go to bed! I decided to listen to myself and though it was mid-evening, well before bedtime, I went ahead and went to bed and got some sleep. The next morning I woke up feeling refreshed and could not even remember why I was so upset the day before.
I am a big believer in getting the appropriate amount of rest for both our physical and spiritual well-being. After all, John realized how closely our spiritual and physical health are both intertwined.
Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 John 1:2 NLT
Most of us live in a society that almost makes being “too busy” a status symbol. We feel pressured to do more and more. Is all that more and more really necessary? Great grandmother did all her laundry on a scrub board and still sat on the front porch and drank lemonade. Today we have washing machines and dryers and all sorts of electronics making work so much easier. So how many of us sit on the front porch and drink lemonade now? Almost none of us. We are busy creating more work. We need to take time to rest like Mary did at the feet of Jesus.
Does God require us to be workaholics?
This is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NLT
Let’s heed the words Jesus told Martha when Martha complained about Mary resting at the feet of Jesus instead of doing more work.
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 NLT
While Jesus never condoned idleness, He never condoned being a workaholic either. He tells all His disciples
“Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31 NLT