Rest Is Productive

Author: Naomi Zylstra — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: October 9, 2023

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Rest Is Productive

READ: GENESIS 2:1-3; EXODUS 20:8-11; MATTHEW 11:28–12:13; MARK 6:27-32

The other day, I heard someone say, “Rest is productive,” and I flinched a little. That can’t be, can it? Resting is the opposite of being productive, right? Sometimes I struggle with feeling guilty when I rest or take a break. Or I’ll remember how productive I was in the past and think I’ll never compare to that now with all the rest I’m taking. But God teaches us that not only do we need rest, but it’s also an important and productive part of becoming more like Christ.

God created the Sabbath with the purpose of resting in mind. In the book of Exodus, He commanded His people not to do any work on the Sabbath, the last day of every week, inviting them to trust Him to provide for their needs. And in Genesis, God even gave us an example of rest right at the beginning: God finished His work of creation, and then He rested.

When we rest, we can quiet our minds and listen to what God may be trying to tell us. Or we can simply enjoy and be present in the gifts of creation God has given us.

Jesus often went off alone to pray, and in Mark 6:31, Jesus called His disciples to come away with Him to rest and take a break after they had just come back from their missionary journeys and heard the news of John the Baptist’s death. Jesus is fully God and fully human, and He shows us that rest is an important and integral part of our daily lives. Not only that, but Jesus also said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). God wants us to rest, and He provides that rest in Jesus. • Naomi Zylstra

• As Christians, we don’t practice the Sabbath the same way God prescribed in the Old Testament. These laws were just a foretaste of the ultimate rest God was preparing to give His people in Jesus. But God still calls us to take times of intentional rest, and to do this often. (And one way we can rest is by gathering with other Christians and listening to His Word together.) When was the last time you took an intentional break? How did you feel during your break?

• Jesus is the One who provides rest. If we’ve put our trust in Jesus, believing He died on the cross and rose from the dead for us, we get to enter God’s rest. We can be free from striving because Jesus has already done the work of saving us, making us whole, and restoring us to relationship with Himself. So, when we take time to pause from our work and from what seems productive to us, we get to express our trust in God and enjoy His good gifts. What makes you feel well-rested? How could you incorporate at least one of these things into your life this week?

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (WEB)