Over the last few weeks my wife and I packed our entire life into boxes, done multiple car trips across Edinburgh, moved 50+ boxes, over 800 books, furniture and walked up three flights of stairs more times than I can count – and during all this I read a book on rest. Ironic, I know.
As a person who loves my job and who doesn’t always see it as ‘work’, rest is not easy. I’m a ‘doer’. I like to tick things off my to-do list app and hear the satisfying ping that it makes. I enjoy filling my diary with planning and pastoral meetings; I really enjoy working. However, this can also be a problem because I have the tendency to take on too much and work too hard, meaning that I do so many different things and can become quite stressed from time to time.
I realised that I needed to read The Art of Rest.
I am always weary when I pick up a book on rest and in the back of my mind I’m wondering if it’ll be a pitch for a legalistic view of the Sabbath based on the Old Testament laws and the nation of Israel. I have read many books like that, and Mabry’s book does not fall into that category at all.
Many people think that just sitting in front of the TV is rest, or simply sitting doing nothing is rest, but Mabry looks at the purpose of rest from a Biblical perspective, and that is a breath of fresh air in a world which idolises busyness. In six short and very readable chapters Mabry takes the reader on a journey to see what true rest really looks like and what the purpose behind it is, and he gives his four R’s of rest.
Rest allows remembering, rest is resistance, rest restores relationship and rest brings reward.
Rest is such an important part of life, it has been woven into the fabric of human existence. If we do not rest we will not only damage ourselves but even those around us. One of the very convicting parts about this book was the attitude that Marby sees behind a lack of rest. If people refuse to rest often an attitude of stubborn independence, of “I don’t need help, I can do all of this on my own” lies behind it.
“Resting requires you to admit that you are not sufficient,
and to acknowledge that there is One who is”
Often Christians can feel guilty about resting, or feel that they can’t rest because they need to be doing all they can do for the Kingdom of God; or they swing the other way and think that on a day of rest there shouldn’t be any Christian element involved. However, true rest should not exclude Jesus but it should include Him, it should not be resting from the bible and time spent with God but it should be time rest according to the bible and a time resting in God.
In this world which seems to get busier with every moment, in this world which puts such an importance on work, taking time to stop and read this book could greatly benefit you, your relationships and your health both physically and spiritually.