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Finding Rest: Lessons from the Sower
Work never ends, but when demands are greatest, it's time to step away and rest.

When the work never stops flowing, and the crises and demands never seem to end, to step away and rest feels like a luxury.

But, far from being a luxury, true rest is something Jesus calls us to.

Jesus taught that rest arises out of faith and trust. In the parable of the sower (see Mark 4:26-29), the sower spreads the seed. Then he rests. He doesn't hover over it to watch its progress. Because whether he rests or stays up to watch, "all by itself, the soil produces grain."

When Christian leaders face need or difficulties—in our own lives or in the lives of others—we can lose sight of God's ability to work beyond our efforts. We may be tempted to take on the role of Saviour, which results in frustration and fatigue, and denies our trust in God.

Like the farmer in the parable, our job is to spread the seed of God's grace. But we also have to exercise faith by resting with confidence in God's ability to multiply our response and meet the need.

When you are tempted to hover over a problem or play the role of Saviour, keep these practical steps in mind:

1. Remember that God ordained regular intervals of rest and Jesus modeled a pattern of rest.

2. Ask God to help you understand the biblical mandate for rest and help you live it out.

3. Schedule your rest, anticipate your rest, prepare for your rest, and then rest.

4. Recognize that rest is a spiritual discipline. You can let go of your responsibilities and rest because God is in control.

5. Learn how to rest. For some it will be reading, for others it may be going for a walk, playing a game of tennis, or listening to music. Relish your rest from labour as a gift from God and an exercise of faith.

Willard Metzger is World Vision Canada's director of church relations.

Originally published in World Watch, July/August 2007.




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