By Brock Bondurant
Genesis 1:31-2:3 – 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
“Let the Ground Rest” – the name and chorus of one of my favorite songs of the past couple of years. I’ve been especially drawn to it with its reference of seasons; how nature’s seasons and our own on spiritual seasons remind us that not every season is for planting or harvesting. Sometimes the work must cease – the ground must rest. Most of the time, I fail to make this connection.
I’m the type of guy that when the going gets tough, I push to get more done and white-knuckle my way through every season of life. When I’m drained and fatigued, I find myself naturally responding with “do more”, or “do better!” Not always a healthy response, especially in those seasons where rest might be the most spiritual thing I can do. I have a lot of trouble with letting the ground rest.
So often in my life, I experience burn out as I continue striving even past the point of production. I feel like I’m working against the grain. Despite living like all seven days of the week were made for work, all of my striving doesn’t grant me the fruit that I hope for. Why? I’ve discovered that I have indeed been fighting against the grain of creation – the law of Sabbath.
Trying to avoid Sabbath, or rest, is a lot like trying to avoid the law of gravity. It’s pretty futile to fight against it. My attempt at jumping is an example of just how futile that can be. Gravity wins. If you’ve ever been exhausted, worn out, or burnt out it’s likely caused by not resting well. You may be encountering a gravity-like resistance to a rhythm of creation – Sabbath. This looks like physical injury, mental fatigue, or emotional exhaustion. Work without rest is futile. In the end, Sabbath wins.
We, like our planet, are not meant to operate without rest. Look at the seasons for example: winter is not meant to be a season of planting or harvesting. But after a 3-month rest, the ground is back ready to bring forth its fruit. Springtime is coming!
There is even the divide between day and night. Night time is a daily Sabbath. Before Mr. Edison perfected the light bulb, night meant that work is over – striving must cease. In Genesis 1, when day and night are created, the rhythm is established. God sings the song, nature dances to the melody.
God even created the rhythm of our week: seven days long. Six days for work and one day for rest each week where we simply get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. This is a gift for you.
If you feel like you’ve been working against the grain, you have. God wired Sabbath rest into creation, much like he did the law of gravity, and we were not made to fight against it. The Father knew that we’d get tired so he commanded this rest. Jesus knows our tired and invites us into rest. Even as the season of spring arrives in our physical world, perhaps you’re reading this in a different season in your own life. Maybe you need that to live in that restful rhythm. Perhaps it’s time you let the ground rest.