Trillia Newbell: The necessity of rest

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, July 29th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. This line rings true from author Alan Cohen: There’s virtue in work and there’s virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither. 

Here’s commentator Trillia Newbell with her thoughts on rest.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Munich, Germany, to speak at a women’s retreat. Besides the absolute beauty of the Bavarian countryside, the slower pace of life amazed me. 

It wasn’t the first time I’d experienced this while traveling in Europe. But I think it always gets me because it’s such a striking contrast to American culture. 

Europeans seem to embrace the idea of Sabbath, at least theoretically. They’ve not only adopted a slower pace, but they enjoy more holidays. There’s a cultural push against the tyranny of the urgent.

Again, I am not saying that they’ve embraced the Biblical view of Sabbath rest, which is both physical and spiritual. But we could learn from their way of life. 

In American culture, “I’m busy” has become a leading status symbol of our time. We tend to be perpetually hurried, scheduled, and lacking rest. Even with a workweek that is Monday through Friday, we are often working seven days a week. We eat lunch at our desks while sending emails. And we even rush our “breaks” during the day.

I saw this first-hand during a visit to a restaurant in Munich. The server helped us to our seats, took our orders, and delivered our food at a pace I was accustomed to. And then she disappeared. I started to wonder if she had forgotten us. 

Stateside, the server would have long ago placed our check on the table. So, what was going on? 

My hosts explained that Germans don’t hurry their meals. Most people will sit for two or three hours—minimum!—to enjoy their food and time together. During each meal in Germany, I’d always see people who were seated when we arrived still sitting at their table as I left. 

As I learned more about the culture, I was told that they take rest very seriously. So seriously in fact that everyone—everyone!—receives six weeks of vacation each year.

I had to guard my heart against envy. I’d love to have our family be able to take six weeks off and still be able to pay bills! 

But as I thought about it more, I realized that I already have plenty of time to rest. The question is: Am I using it to rest or filling it with more work?

After creating the universe, our God rested (Genesis 2:2). If God rested, even though He didn’t need to rest, shouldn’t we as His image bearers and those who desperately need it do so as well? Only our Father never grows tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28). You and I were made for rest.

Perhaps your best next step is to schedule rest. This week make a commitment to say no to the crazy busy life. That email can wait. Make the phone call on Monday. Take a walk. Whatever you need to do, do it. You will be glad you did. 

For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.

(Photo/Creative Commons, Freddy Fehmarn)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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