It's that point in Fall Quarter where we look at our schedule, and it seems like it's the same old cycle of super long work weeks, too much homework, shifts at work start catching up with us, and before we know it: it's Sunday night, and need to start getting ready for the next weekly onslaught.
This is the place I always find myself during this time of year. Even though I'm only taking two classes, I'm also working a part-time job and also volunteering part-time as well. My work weeks typically add up to 55-65 hours when all is said and done.
How do I stay well rested?
As a Christian, I hear the word rest thrown around way too much for my personal liking. "Rest well." "Get some rest." "Jesus told us that He will give us rest if you just ask for it."
None of these talking points help because it misses a fundamental aspect of "rest."
Rest is not a currency, it is a dimension of space we occupy. And more specifically: Jesus is inviting you to follow Him into that space!
God commanded His people to keep the Sabbath (a day of rest) all the way back at the beginning of the biblical story, where God delivers His people out of slavery under the pharaoh of Egypt. God commands His people to "remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor, but...on [the seventh] you shall not do any work" (Exodus 20:8-10, NIV).
God removed His people from slavery and commanded them to observe a day where they nor their animals nor their own servants worked because God's desire is for His people to not be slaves to work.
This is echoed in the book of the prophet Jeremiah, a Scripture that God's people held onto, reminding themselves of who God is and who they claimed to be as His people. Jeremiah paints a beautiful poetic image showing the true implications of the Sabbath: if the Sabbath is kept holy, then all of God's people will bring offerings and celebrate together in God's temple (Jeremiah 17:24-26, NIV).
This is why it is so powerful when Jesus is telling His disciples,
"No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" — Matthew 11:27-28, NIV
God is the one who is supposed to give His people rest, and that is exactly what Jesus is getting at Jesus "was designated by God to be high priest" mediating God's character and desire for His people, showing us the way to truly live as committed followers of God (Hebrews 5:10, NIV).
This is why Jesus invites us to come to Him when we need rest: Jesus is God. Jesus desires for His people to be released from slavery to work, just like how God rescued His initial people and desired them to keep a Sabbath.
The Sabbath is accessible to all who follow Jesus. We may be working extremely long work weeks. We have a lot of homework and projects coming up. Ultimately, I encourage you: fight for space in your calendar to respect the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Jesus is inviting you into the space of rest, to break the chains of work. Accept His invitation.