Restful Worship

Restful Worship


He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. (Mark 16:31, HCSB)


According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.

Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, “Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bows implies.” The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, “If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.” People are also like that. That’s why we all need to take time to rest.

Rest is not only essential to our spiritual lives, it is imperative if we are to be productive. Christ understood the need to get away from it all and recharge His batteries. If the very Son of God had a need for some downtime, why do we have the idea that we can keep going like the energizer bunny?

We are busy people, running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. We are too busy for our own good, and we fail to realize that our frantic pace is actually less productive. The more we run around in circles the less we actually accomplish.

We are workaholics, and, in addition, worn out by the time demands of our day. It is no wonder that the quality of our worship is so shoddy. We must have free time to worship, and we must plan our week so that we finish early enough to have that free time. It does take time to be holy.

By worship I’m not referring to that pre-planned extravaganza in the multi-million dollar worship center at the local mega-church. When I refer to worship, I mean that super secret quite time when it is just us and God. Alone. Quietly communing with our creator.

Worship, private worship—restful worship—must be a part of our daily life. Our most notorious industrial accidents in recent years—Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the fatal navigational error of Korean Air Lines 007—all occurred in the middle of the night. When the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian A300 airbus killing all 290 people aboard, fatigue-stressed operators in the high-tech Combat Information Center on the carrier misinterpreted radar data and repeatedly told their captain the jet was descending as if to attack when in fact the airliner remained on a normal flight path. In the Challenger space shuttle disaster, key NASA officials made the ill-fated decision to go ahead with the launch after working twenty hours straight and getting only two to three hours of sleep the night before. Their error in judgment cost the lives of seven astronauts and nearly killed the U.S. space program. We ignore our need for rest and renewal at the peril of others and ourselves.

It’s time to rest, and rest in communion with the Lord.