This past August, my family and I spent 7 days in New Hampshire. We were blessed to attend Week 7 of Camp Spofford’s Family Camp. It was an awesome week of rest, fellowship, family time, faith development, and fun. Our days were filled with canoeing, kayaking, hiking, tubing, fishing, and much more. This was the second year we have gone to Camp Spofford and I can tell you that I am already looking forward to next year.

You may be wondering why I am rubbing in my incredible summer vacation now that we are in the midst of the gloom of winter. It’s because, for me, Camp Spofford equates to rest. It is a place my family can go and simply rest. We have an entire week together in which we have no responsibilities and are unplugged from ministry, counseling, work, and all of our other obligations.

Rest is an important part of our Christian walk and is often ignored in an American context. We are commanded in Scripture to rest. The standard is set for us by God himself in Genesis 1 & 2 when he rested after creating. Later, God commands his people to keep the Sabbath holy by resting and dedicating the day to him. He specifically commands that no human or animal is to work on the Sabbath. This theme of rest continues throughout the Bible.

If this is an important Scriptural command, it begs the question why is rest so important?

Here are four simple reasons why rest is important.

1. REST ALLOWS US TO CREATE SACRED TIME INTO OUR LIFE RHYTHMS.

When we rest we are able to more clearly focus on worship, prayer, study, etc. We often mark this sacred time by attending Sunday worship services and other Christian holidays throughout the year. Setting aside time for rest allows us to set time aside for sacred purposes and draw closer to God.

2. RESTING REQUIRES US TO TRUST GOD’S PROVISION.

God is sovereign and has promised to provide for all of our needs. By taking a regular time of rest in our lives, we are trusting that even in the midst of our non-working, God will provide.

3. REST ALLOWS US TO EXPERIENCE PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL RENEWAL.

As we rest, we create space for ourselves to decompress from the stresses of daily life. We can step back from some of our responsibilities and take a deep breath. It allows us to have space to reconnect with those we love and enjoy having fun with one another. As we do this, we are renewed!

4. REST IS COUNTER-CULTURAL.

Rest is a counter-cultural action to take in a culture that worships work (Josh Garrels has a killer song that touches on this called The Resistance). Productivity can be a healthy goal but can be a slave-driving idol as well. Our culture is overwhelmed by consumerism and a dedication to around-the-clock work. We are told to sacrifice our marriages and children on the altar of climbing the corporate ladder. Rest pushes back against all of this and establishes space for us to pursue relationships and care for those we love.

Each of these reasons is important in the lives of Christians. They are particularly important in the lives of pastors and church leaders. I am blessed to work at a church with a large staff. This allows each of us time to rest. If I am gone in New Hampshire for a week, there are others who can fill the gap.

Many of you reading this are not in that position. Many churches in our district and around the nation are led by a single pastor. Finding time for rest in that circumstance is incredibly difficult. Who will visit your people in the hospital? Who will celebrate new births and mourn recent losses?

I don’t have those answers for you.

What I can tell you is that if you aren’t resting, you won’t be able to care for your church too much longer. Burnout will sneak up and steal you away. If this is the position in which you find yourself, meet with your elder board or with someone from the Pastor Support team at EFCA East and get a plan set up for how you can ensure you’re resting.

I am not going to suggest that embracing a rhythm of rest is an easy action to take. In our American culture, which is obsessed with work and ensuring our kids are involved in every activity under the sun, rest can be hard to find. But we are commanded to rest. Rest is good for us. We need rest. Camp Spofford may not be the place where you rest but you must find that place and fit it into your life regularly.

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Josh Cervone

Family Ministries Pastor at Beacon EFC
Josh Cervone has been pastoring at Beacon Church since 2018 when he was hired to lead Family Ministries. Since then he has also begun leading the Communications ministry. Prior to his time at Beacon, he worked as a case manager and clinical social worker in a variety of inpatient and outpatient mental health settings and was blessed to be able to see how he could minister within those contexts. He has been married to his wife, Rebecca, since 2009 and they have been blessed with five kids. They have four boys and a girl and love watching them grow and develop. In his free time, you will likely find him out and about with his family, reading, or going for a walk around Galloway.

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1 Comment

  1. Paulo Freire on February 28, 2024 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for the good word, Josh.
    I’m reading it from my comfortable couch while resting on vacation!

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