The journey through Open Door 2024 has brought us to a pivotal moment, a test not of our strength or endurance, but of our ability to embrace rest. In a world that prizes constant motion and productivity, God invites us into a counter-cultural practice – the sacred rest.

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Notes on Test 4 – Rest

An Open Door for 2024

Test 4: “Rest”

Why did the procrastinator never finish his to-do list? (Because he was too busy planning when to start it!) Why did the busy baker refuse to take a break? (Because they didn’t want to be caught loafing around!) Why did the calendar apply for a vacation? (Because it was tired of being booked solid all the time!)

I’m so busy, even my calendar needs a calendar. I’m so busy that my multitasking is multitasking. I’m so busy, my to-do list has its own to-do list. I’m so busy, I’ve hired a personal assistant to find me a personal assistant. I’m so busy, I don’t even have time to complain about being busy. I’m so busy, even my problems have to make an appointment. I’m so busy, I’m thinking of hiring a body double.

A garden gnome is busy destroying some plants when suddenly a house cat appears. “What are you?” asks the cat. “I’m a gnome. I steal food from humans, I kill their plants, and I raise a ruckus at night to drive them crazy. I just love mischief! And what, may I ask, what kind of creature are you?” The cat thinks for a moment and says, “I guess I’m a gnome.”

I was busy in my garden and the neighbor looked over the fence and said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m putting all my plants in alphabetical order…” She replied, “Really? How do you find the time?” “Oh, that’s easy,” I said. “It’s right next to the sage.”

A duck is standing next to a busy road, cars zooming past while he waits for a break in traffic. A chicken walks up to him and says, “Don’t do it, man. You’ll never hear the end of it.”

I. The Importance of Rest in Our Fast-Paced World

In our fast-paced world, where productivity is often valued above all else, the importance of rest cannot be overstated. Many people value busyness. Sometimes it feels like you’re doing something wrong when you’re not busy.

I know for myself I normally struggle on vacation when I don’t have something to do, but is that the way God wants it to be? Many of you know one of my favorite places on Earth is the Caribbean. I’ve noticed a trait down there that is very foreign to our way of thinking. I call it Island mentality. I sum it up like this: “Why do today what can be done tomorrow?”

It’s kind of opposite of our way of thinking. Maybe it’s because they don’t live in a place where the air can hurt your face. Maybe it’s the sunshine that saps all your energy. I don’t know, but it’s a more peaceful way to live, in my opinion.

Sure, the Bible says a lot about not being lazy.

Proverbs 10:4–5 NLT 4 Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich. 5 A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.

Proverbs 12:11 NLT 11 A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.

Proverbs 12:24 NLT 24 Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.

I don’t believe God does.

Luke 10:38–42 NASB95 38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Yes, God has work for us to do, but what He has called us to do is to work with Him.

Matthew 11:28–30 NASB95 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Busyness is not God’s plan for us.

Not resting can have detrimental consequences on the life of a believer.

  1. Physical Health:

Rest is essential for physical health and well-being. Continuous activity without adequate rest can lead to burnout, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to illness. Rest allows our bodies to repair and rejuvenate, replenishing energy levels and strengthening our immune systems.

  1. Mental Health:

The relentless pace of modern life can take a toll on mental health. Rest provides an opportunity for mental relaxation and stress relief. It allows us to step back from the pressures of work, school, and daily responsibilities, promoting mental clarity, emotional stability, and resilience in the face of challenges.

  1. Creativity and Innovation:

Rest is a catalyst for creativity and innovation. When our minds are constantly occupied with tasks and deadlines, there’s little room for new ideas to flourish. Taking breaks and allowing our brains to wander enables us to think outside the box, make connections, and come up with fresh solutions to problems.

  1. Relationships:

Rest is vital for nurturing meaningful relationships. When we’re constantly on the go, we may neglect spending quality time with loved ones, leading to feelings of disconnect and loneliness. Taking time to rest allows us to prioritize relationships, fostering intimacy, communication, and emotional support.

  1. Productivity and Performance:

Contrary to popular belief, rest is not antithetical to productivity; it’s a prerequisite for sustained high performance. Adequate rest improves focus, concentration, and cognitive function, enhancing productivity and efficiency in the long run. By incorporating periods of rest into our schedules, we can work smarter, not just harder.

  1. Spiritual and Emotional Renewal:

Rest is essential for spiritual and emotional renewal. It provides an opportunity for introspection, prayer, and meditation, fostering spiritual growth and connection with the divine. Additionally, rest allows us to recharge emotionally, cultivating a sense of inner peace, gratitude, and contentment.

There is a time to work and a time to rest.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NASB95 1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

The issue is if we are always busy we should be asking ourselves why? Is it procrastination? Is it taking on too much? Is it doing things we were never called to do? Could it be an unreliance on God and instead doing things our way instead of His?

There are many reasons why we may feel busy.

  1. Wasting Time – Doing things God never asked us to do

Luke 14:28–29 NASB95 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,

Before committing to anything, seek God and ask Him if He is telling you to do it. There are a lot of “good things” we can do. But we need to focus on the right things.

  1. Doing things on our own

This can be multi-pronged… as simple as

a) Not enlisting the help of others

Ecclesiastes 4:9 NASB95 9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

Just because you can do it alone doesn’t mean you should!

b) Without Holy Spirit’s help

John 14:26 NASB95 26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

II. God’s Design for Rest

A. God rested on the seventh day after creating the world.

Genesis 2:2–3 NASB95 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

B. The commandment to observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

Exodus 20:8–11 NASB95 8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work: you or your son or your daughter nor your male or female servant nor your cattle nor your sojourner who stays with you. 11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth; the sea and all that is in them; then He rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

I have heard some people say “Well the Sabbath is OT; we live in the New.”

Mark 2:27–28 NASB95 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath. 28 “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Hebrews 4:9–11 NASB95 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

God instituted the Sabbath so man would have rest. He never took that away. It’s about trusting Jesus instead of trusting that the enemy’s plans will prevail.

III. Jesus as the Source of Rest

A. Jesus invites us to find rest in Him.

Matthew 11:28–30 NASB95 28 “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden; I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you; learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart; you will find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy; My burden is light.”

B. Jesus modeled the importance of rest for His disciples.

Mark 6:31 NASB95 31 And He said to them; “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place; rest awhile.” For there were many people coming and going; they did not even have time to eat.

Jesus took time to rest.

C. The significance of finding spiritual and emotional rest in Christ amidst life’s challenges.

Hebrews 13:20–21 NASB95 20 Now may the God of peace; who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—through the blood of the eternal covenant; 21 equip you with everything good for doing His will; working in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ; glory forever and ever. Amen.

The first step is not only giving yourself permission to rest but recognizing that God expects us to rest.

IV. The Restorative Power of Rest

A. God leads us beside quiet waters; restores our souls.

Psalm 23:1–4 NASB95 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; fear no evil: You are with me; Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

B. “Be still; know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10 NASB95 10 “Be still; know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”

C. Rest rejuvenates us physically; mentally; spiritually.

Rest allows us to accomplish what God calls us to do!

V. Overcoming Barriers to Rest

A. Addressing common obstacles such as busyness; worry; guilt.

Overcoming Busyness:

Prioritize: Identify your top priorities; focus on what truly matters rather than trying to do everything at once.

Matthew 6:33 NASB95 33 “But seek first His kingdom; His righteousness; all these things will be added unto you.”

Set boundaries: It’s very important setting boundaries protect personal time prevent overcommitment. Saying “no” when necessary is essential for maintaining balance.

Schedule downtime: Schedule regular periods of rest; relaxation into your calendars just as any other appointment or task.

Overcoming Worry:

Practice mindfulness:

2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB95 5 We destroy arguments every lofty opinion raised against knowledge God take every thought captive obey Christ,

Become more aware of your thoughts emotions without judgment this allows reduce anxiety worry.

Philippians 4:8 NASB95 8 Finally brothers whatever true whatever honorable whatever just whatever pure whatever lovely whatever commendable if there any excellence if anything worthy praise think about these things,

Foster trust: Trust in God’s provision sovereignty, Worrying does not add anything their lives but detracts from peace mind.

Isaiah 46:4 NASB95 4 Even your old age am he even gray hairs will sustain bear made carry deliver,

Philippians 4:19 NASB95 19 And my God supply every need according riches glory Christ Jesus,

Focus gratitude:

Cultivate spirit gratitude reflecting blessings lives shifting focus worries blessings,

Overcoming Guilt:

Challenge perfectionism: You don’t have do everything perfectly meet unrealistic standards Perfectionism often leads feelings guilt inadequacy phrase use this

“God does not expect us be perfect wants our best!”

Offer grace:

It’s okay take breaks prioritize self-care Extend grace yourself just as God extends grace us,

Reframe rest necessity:

The Bible tells us rest gift from God rather sign laziness failure taking care oneself essential serving others effectively,

Matthew 22:39 NASB95 39 “The second like ‘You shall love neighbor yourself.’

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