Sleep has got to be one of my favorite forms of worship. It’s sadly underrated as such, but seriously: Can you think of anything more divine than sleeping later in the morning or dozing off for an afternoon nap?!? I genuinely believe that our bodies crave rest as an extension of the way we crave our Creator.
The Bible regularly references this concept of a Sabbath — 150-500 times, depending on how you count — and it’s not generally framed in terms of being a helpful hint or suggestion. It’s a command from God to His people. And while Jesus tempers the legalism that can crop up from religious enforcement of the Sabbath, the principle is never abolished. Since Creation, God has made it clear that rest is a priority.
With so many cultural and practical pressures working against us, however, we really need to make a point to rest. With rigor, in fact. And I would actually go so far as to suggest that rigorous resting is a matter of faithfully proclaiming the Gospel.
When we make a deliberate decision to rest, we acknowledge the fact that God will accomplish His purposes regardless of our contribution to the process. We can’t work hard enough to accomplish God’s purposes ourselves. We can’t earn our way into God’s good graces. He is the sole proprietor of Kingdom business — and even though He does use us (making our work useful, in its proper context), He doesn’t actually need us. We need Him. When we acknowledge our impotence and yield to His work in our lives — instead of trying to hammer it through on our own — we experience true peace and communion with God. And that’s the essence of the Gospel.