I often hear people talk about their Sunday afternoon naps with a little bit of humor. For me I call them my NASCAR naps. I love to nap to the sound of race cars going around a track and waking when the commentator’s voices get excited because something has happened – then back to the nap! Whether it be a NASCAR nap, NFL nap, or just a good night’s sleep, rest is an important element to living life as the masterpiece God created you to be. The system He designed you for includes rest. In Psalm we the Psalmist declares: “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.” Ps. 23:2 (NLT)
Nothing To Brag About
In our fast paced life we often brag about our lack of rest and talk about how we are always going 100 miles per hour living at a break-neck-pace. It’s as though it makes us feel more important to talk about how we don’t have time to rest. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s probably more true to say we are simply not living by our priorities and God has made rest a priority for each of us. Why do we do this? We tend to think that our net worth equals our self-worth, and it’s just not true. As a result, we are busy working and striving. All the while not getting the rest we need nor having time to do things we really love to do and are gifted by God to do. We are busy, busy, busy and wondering where the peace is. Isn’t it interesting to think about the fact that God has given us all the time we need to do the things He created us to do and one of those things includes rest.
He Let’s Me Rest
I love to watch sheep graze…my grandfather grazed his sheep in a pasture next to our home. They would often start grazing in the early morning hours as the sun was beginning to rise. In the summer as the morning would heat up, they would become tired and thirsty. At about 10 a.m. they would lie down to rest. As a wise shepherd, the Psalmist knew that sheep should not drink when it is hot or when its stomach is full of undigested grass. So the shepherd would make the sheep lie down in a green meadow in the heat of the morning and allow it time to chew its cud. (A sheep’s way of digesting.)
In the midst of our busy schedule, our God gives us peace. We must grasp the truth that we are his sheep, He loves us, He knows us…it has nothing to do with how much we do. As a kid I would especially marvel in the winter as my grandfather would break the ice so that the sheep would have something to drink. The Psalmist states, “He leads me beside peaceful streams.” As a timid creature, sheep are afraid of swift moving water. They are poor swimmers with their thick wool. It would be like us getting dressed to go snow skiing with all the coats and gear and jumping in the pool for a swim. Therefore the shepherd would look for still waters for the sheep to drink. If none could be found, he would dam a spot and create a still water for the sheep to drink.
The shepherd does not laugh at the sheep’s limitations or fears; he does not force them to go beyond where they could safely and happily go. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29 in the Message paraphrase: “Are you tired? Are you worn-out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Next Steps For Your Life Palette:
Take some time today and meditate on this verse in Psalm 23. Prayerfully go to Jesus as your shepherd and seek His peace and rest for your life.