As I write this blog, I am returning from more than two weeks of a break in my normal schedule or routine. For those of you who know me, work comes easy – rest is hard. Carolyn and I had planned a fairly tightly scheduled vacation in the Carolinas, but a few days before it started we decided to stay home, make day trips, rest, and enjoy each other at a camp in rural Ontario.

Rest was modeled by God and commanded in the Scriptures. In fact, God used one of the Ten Commandments to challenge us to rest. Because of the demands of Sunday for us, Carolyn and I have made Monday our day of rest.

For many years I did not take a day of rest. I enjoyed the work God had called me to do and honestly I did not feel like I needed rest. It took me years to realize how self-deluded I was in that I desperately needed rest.

When I started taking a day a week to rest and reflect, I thoroughly enjoyed it and then realized what I had been missing. The worst part was not learning a simple lesson late, but realizing that I had actually been sinning against God. He knew what I needed better than what I did.

Ultimately, my passion to do the work of the ministry at a frantic pace was nothing more than pride and perhaps finding some of my identity in the work of The Lord rather than in The Lord. That’s when work can become an idol. I have found the forgiveness of God and I have discovered the benefits and joys of rest. If you can identify with my story, please learn from my mistakes.

This block of time has been so beneficial to me. Over the years I would return from vacations with a dozen different new ministry ideas – much to the dismay of our staff. This rest has allowed time to refocus – not on new ministries or programs – but on the center of who I am and my relationship with my Lord.

Spending time in solitude in the woods or alongside a campfire invites a person to explore the inner places less travelled. Is it possible that we avoid these times through busyness because of a fear of being alone with God?

Reading, meditating, praying and listening brings new perspective and calls for changes in the most important areas of life. Attention to the inner, private life helps give direction and meaning to the public life.

This block of time has also helped to recharge the batteries. When we get run down physically, emotionally or spiritually, we become shallow and even dangerous – like an accident waiting to happen. Recharging the battery makes us more effective in our mission and more enjoyable to be around.

I am thankful for the Woodside family for allowing us this time of rest. Thank you for your prayers. We feel rested, refocused and recharged – ready for the challenges and opportunities of ministry at Woodside.

2 Responses to Rest
  1. Dea Chesnutt

    Thank you for this. Now that I am retired, I have been deluded into thinking this was ‘rest’. I was/am wrong. Taking time to rest in the Lord is truly rest and I have also sinned by not doing this on a regular basis. A realization that has simply flown over my head. I am so glad you wrote this.

    Both Roger and I appreciate your faithfulness to us and The Woodside family. We consider ourselves blessed to be a part of Woodside.

    See you at the car show/picnic Sunday.


  2. Sue White

    Thank you Pastor Doug for this reminder of the importance of spending time alone with God. My “quiet times” have not been regular for a very long time. But I know that my day always goes smoothly when I do pray and read his Word each morning. Also, when on vacation, it always seems so filled with sights to see, etc. that when I get home, I am exhausted. Then I need a vacation from the vacation! So, thank you for sharing your experience about truly resting!