My son, Brandon, had a 3/8” electric drill that was designed for light-duty household use. One time, when we were building shelves in the garage, we used Brandon’s drill to screw in long screws through the wooden shelves into the wall studs. The torque required to spin a screw through all that wood is far greater than what the drill was designed for, and with repeated use, Brandon’s drill eventually burnt out.
The same thing can happen to human beings. When God created human beings, he made us to function in a certain way, and when we function differently than how we were designed, the results can be disastrous. However, when our lives are connected to God and we live with the rhythm of work and rest God designed us to have, then our lives are able to produce sustained fruitfulness.
We were made to function with a rhythm of rest and work, just like a swing has a rhythm of back and forth. God created the first humans on the sixth day, which was followed by a day of rest. So, we were made to rest first, then work. Also, when we begin with rest, we are then able to work with the energy, creativity and stamina that we gain in rest.
Rest also serves another very important function. In John 15, Jesus uses the word-picture of a grapevine and its branches to describe our life with him. That word-picture speaks of the necessity of a life-giving connection with Jesus, but it reminds us of the importance of pruning. Just as a grape plant needs to be pruned during the dormant season so it can be fruitful during the growing season, we also need God to prune in our lives during our times of rest, cutting away what is unnecessary or harmful so we can be more fruitful when it is time to grow.
So a rhythm of rest and work is very important. Rest becomes a time to prune and prepare for the opportunities God will bring to us in the future. Work is a time to glorify God with the gifts and abilities that he has given us. May Jesus bless us as we seek to live our lives in rhythm with his.
Dear Jesus, thank you for establishing the daily, weekly, annual and other rhythms that you have put in the world. Help me to keep my eyes focused on you and guide me into a life-giving rhythm with you. Amen.