Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Rest Of The Week

It was at the end of my first year of teaching and the Georgia Christian School faculty was having a wrap-up meeting. Sometime before we commenced the session, I told a colleague, "I wish we could start next year tomorrow." I meant it, too, but when it was brought up in front of the staff, I'm sure there was a fair amount of good natured eye-rolling from the veterans of decades in the classroom. Like I said, I was sincere but my life was so different back then. I wasn't coaching high school basketball. No blog. No summer mission trips. No of about fifty other things which now make up my routine. And so when we had a holiday yesterday for Good Friday, I rejoiced. And when Spring Break rolled around thirteen days ago, I was elated. And MLK Day. And Christmas.... and Thanksgiving.... and Columbus Day....... and Labor Day. And summer vacation...... and the cycle repeats itself year after year after year.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE TEACHING AND COACHING! I may love my job as much or more than anybody I know. And I've never missed a day of teaching due to sickness and rarely for anything else excepting the illnesses and deaths of Mom and Dad. But it can wear on you when you are emotionally and physically invested in your work. Truthfully, it's not even work when you are lucky enough that your career is also your ministry. But sometimes, you just need a day off to rest. I have been in school since I was five years old; elementary school to junior high to high school to college to grad school to teaching. So when a day off rolls around, it's just a blessing to sleep an hour later or be able to license your car or get a haircut or not worry about the line in the grocery store. (Someone remind me I have six days to put my new sticker on my windshield!) A week off and I get antsy. A day off and I'm brand new!

You don't have to go too many pages into the scriptures and the rest concept is plainly stated and reinforced. The Lord resting from Creation. The people of Israel commanded to take a break on the seventh day with harsh repercussions for failure to do so. Jesus often butted heads with the religious leaders over the Sabbath, not with its validity but their rather arbitrary interpretations. The Savior took it a step farther by promising rest to His followers not once but twice in Matthew 11, verses 28 and 29:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

One of my favorite hymns has always been, Art Thou Weary? which I would guess is rarely sung anymore. Each verse begins with a question of faith which is answered in the final two lines of each stanza. We need those reassurances that there is an eternal reward for navigating the sometimes bitter life sin unleashed back in the Garden while leaning on the everlasting arms, as long as I am referencing old hymns. But rest is so vital even in our physical nature as we see when Jesus took his disciples off by themselves so they could be refreshed. Did you know that part of the training now of world class athletes includes closely monitoring their sleep? I found that when I slept ninety minutes more per night during Spring Break, my soreness from lifting and swimming disappeared. I was in a better mood, too, so I'm less likely to be a jerk which means I'm more likely to let my light shine AND be ready to return to the one hundred souls I teach and coach five days a week. So, the three day weekend leaves me with no alibis for ineffective teaching next week. Monday, here I come!

Applicable quote of the day:
“Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.” 
 Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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