A week ago, Kimberly and I went to our place up north to hide from the world. We enjoyed perfect Northern Michigan summer weather – warm and sunny days with cool nights. It was good to get away for some quiet time and rest. We ended each day praying together the Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.
It is well known that regular times of rest are essential to avoid burnout and discouragement. But, did you know Jesus did the same thing? Even in the face of great demands, Jesus balanced his work by taking time to relax and pray. When His disciples returned from an exhausting time of teaching and healing others, the Gospel tells us Jesus invited them to “come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” But when a large crowd followed anyway, Jesus went to work. He taught them, then fed them with only five loaves and two fish. And when everyone was gone, Jesus went up on a mountainside to finally be alone and pray (Mark 6:31-46).
If our lives are defined by work and no rest, then then our focus becomes less and less effective and our efforts become meaningless. That’s why God invites us to take time out from our busy lives to relax and pray. Remember, one of the first gifts he gave us was a day of rest – the Sabbath, or as we call it, Sunday. As we begin to enjoy another beautiful Michigan summer, be sure to stop and rest. Put down the cell phones, i-pads, laptops, TV remotes, and Play Station controllers. Take your ear buds out and listen to God’s world. Talk to him as you would to any good friend sitting right next to you. After all, are not rest and time alone with God just as important as work?