If you are anything like me, you might need that extra cup of coffee today since we all lost that hour of sleep yesterday morning (except for our friends in Arizona and Hawaii). The yearly ritual of setting our clocks an hour ahead on the second Sunday of March can get our body a bit out of sync for a few days. Yet, the extra hour of sunshine in the evenings is always a welcome guest on our back porches.
Since I find myself yawning and thinking of a nap on the days right after I have “Sprung forward,” it reminds me of how crucial rest is for the body and the soul. As young adult ministry leaders, we know that the young adults are some of the most exhausted and unrested people we’ve ever met. Studies continue to reveal that young adults are deeply sleep-deprived and need much more rest than they ever seem to get.
However, the scriptures are quick to remind us that rest truly is good for us as followers of Christ. We just don’t seem to be very good at it.
As we walk alongside young adults in their journey, what does rest look like in their lives? How can they experience rest in a world that seems to demand so much in their jobs, their families, and even their time that should be devoted to finding that rest?
Here are a few things we can remind young adults about the importance and beauty of rest:
1. Resting reminds us to trust the Lord.
There is always one more thing that needs to get finished. But there is something to be said for closing the screen of a laptop and saying, “I’m done for today.” There is always one more email to answer, one more phone call to make, or one more blog to write. However, coming to the point to say that it’s finished for today brings an element of trust that God is in control and that He desires for me to take the moments of rest that are given to me.
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”
2. Resting reminds us to make sure that work has not become our idol.
For many of us who enjoy the work that we do, it’s easy to work. It’s nothing to put in well beyond the required amount of hours doing work we love. Resting sounds like a crazy idea when we enjoy work so much.
However, in a very subtle way, work can become an idol and the foundation of our identity. When we don’t take time to rest, we can find ourselves thinking only about the next project or task within our job. Rest reminds us that work is a privilege, but it is not our identity. As followers of Jesus, He is our identity.
The prophet Jonah is very straightforward about idols. “Those who cling to worthless idols forsake faithful love.” (Jonah 2:8)
3. Resting simply reminds us to slow down.
We live in a world that is fast-paced and demands productivity. So much so, that we often miss beautiful moments in which God shows us more of who He is. When we live hurried lives, we miss the breathtaking sunset on the way home. We miss the smile our children give us when we walk in the door. We miss the sweet refreshment of reading God’s Word with a restful heart.
Being intentional about taking moments of rest and recognizing the importance of Sabbath is something that we as young adult ministry leaders must help young adults embrace and practice as a discipline. Resting is simply good for the soul.
So, grab that cup of coffee, but allow yourself to rest and breathe deep the goodness of the Lord.
Mark Whitt is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay, he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister. Connect with Mark via Twitter.