Lord, Teach Us to Rest

A Labor Day devotion about the restorative power of stopping for a moment to rest.

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Posted in , Aug 31, 2014

Devotional writer, Jon Sweeney

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” John 6:27

The summer I turned 14, I worked longer hours than I’ve ever worked since. At 6:30 each morning I’d rise and, after a quick breakfast, begin the seven-mile bike ride to a golf course in a nearby suburb, where my brother Doug and I worked as caddies.

We’d arrive at about 7:15, and by 8:00 we’d be on the course, carrying two heavy golf bags each, “double-caddying” for two people at once. These early-morning golfers liked to walk fast, and we’d be back in the clubhouse by about 10:30, having walked 18 holes and about six miles.

By noon, we’d be back out on the course, this time carrying the really heavy golf bag of a more serious golfer or sprinting beside a golfer in an electric cart. The latter was called “fore-caddying”; we had to run ahead of the cart and find the ball in the tall grass before they arrived on the spot.

I worked hard that summer, but I rarely felt very tired. I was only 14. No wonder!

More recently, my toughest days of work have left me mentally, spiritually and physically exhausted. I began to wonder why—until I recently figured out that I was missing something essential: I was forgetting to stop for a moment every now and then to rest my mind, think a fresh thought, walk around the block, pray for a friend or look up in the trees and admire the songbird just outside my office window.

I wasn't more easily refreshed at 14 simply because I was 14; I was less tired then because I was more easily distracted. Today I’m good at focusing. But too much focus leads to too much stress, as well as exhaustion.

It's Labor Day. Take a break today. But don't forget to take a break on your working days too.

Lord, we work hard. Teach us to rest as well as we work.

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