Is rest a skill? If you have to learn how to rest then the answer is simple. Yes. God teaches rest as His first lesson. Learn this skill and your daily life will be much happier.
Most Christians know the first mention of rest comes in the creation story when God rested:
“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” (Genesis 2:2 NASB 1995)
This is an interesting point in God’s Word. Here we see God setting an example of resting on the seventh day. Compare this to the commandment God gave mankind to rest on the seventh day.
“Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.” (Exodus 16:26 NASB 1995)
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:9-11 NASB 1995)
Notice how the wording states the seventh days is a sabbath OF the Lord. It does not say it is FOR the Lord. In fact, Jesus explained the design reasoning for this commandment.
Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27 NASB 1995)
The Sabbath is a day of rest and was made for us. The Sabbath is not a day of worshipping God as so many people believe. They commonly refer to it as the Lord’s Day. However, it is a gift given to us from God. Six days we are to work but then we are to take one day out of our week to completely rest.
People who disregard this and work seven days a week find themselves with health, emotional, or mental problems because they latterly work themselves to death. God wants us to be healthy. One of the best ways is to get the proper amount of rest. We do this by taking one day a week to do no work at all. We are to rest.
God’s command to rest became very detailed. Man was told to not even prepare food (cook) or to feed the livestock. But Jesus made it clear we are in control of our rest day. We should not ignore it or discard it. However, we can occasionally take a day of rest to do things we may need to do. But do not do this often. Take the day and enjoy it. Spend relaxing times with your family and/or spouse. Read a book. Play games. Or just be a couch potato.
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. (Matthew 12:1-13 NASB 1995)
Throughout Scripture we read of people resting. In the gospel we read of Jesus resting. Not only is resting an important part of our lives it is necessary we have regular sleep patters. When we are young our bodies need about eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to properly regenerate. When we get older we become less active in our daily lives and require only about six hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Some of us have to work odd hours and we don’t get regular sleep. If at all possible, we should arrange our schedules so we get as much proper sleep as possible. Sleep scheduling is a skill and should be learned and adhered to.
You’ll find the better your sleep and rest schedules are the better you can think clearly and have lots of energy to function well throughout your day.
Now, get some rest!