“Rush! Rush! Rush! Go! Go! Go!,” says the espresso. “Hush… Hush… Hush… Slow… Slow… Slow…,” says the potato.
Who wants to be potato?
Here are some words that we often say or hear:
“I’m really busy right now.”
“Man, I’m just really stressed out lately.”
“There’s no way I could fit that into my schedule!”
“I need a vacation…”
“Work has been crazy lately.”
“Ha! I wish I had that kind of time!”
These are the words of cashiers, lawyers, doctors, farmers, secretaries, janitors, stay-at-home-parents—these are the words of Americans.
Proverbs 13:4 says, “The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.” This proverb is nothing mysterious to the average American. Since the inception of our independence, we have seen ourselves as go-getters, trailblazers, workhorses, and whatever else is antonymous to laziness, sloth, or couch potato syndrome.
It is through this mindset that we achieved Manifest Destiny, placed two men on the moon (everyone forgets about Buzz Aldren), dug the Panama Canal, built multi-billion dollar companies, and much more. As Americans, we reach for the stars and then decide we’ll just fly past them. Americans do. Americans work.
There’s no denying that our God is one who desires us to work hard in whatever we do (Col. 3:23; 1 Thess. 3:10-12). Though, where do we draw the line? Could it be possible, dare I say, that we work too hard at times? I think that Richard Swenson, M.D., gets it right when he says, “God…has commanded us to rest. A biblically authentic and balanced life will include time to be still, to remember, to meditate, to delight in who He is and what He has made. But a large obstacle stands in our way: There is no glory in rest. No social acclaim. We are never a hero because we rest.”[i]
Somewhere in the course of our history, the line between laziness and rest became fuzzy. Unfortunately, in day-to-day conversations, it seems that rest and laziness are considered synonymous. “You need a day off? You need a break? That’s just lazy!” At its core, this sort of thinking is a failure to recognize that we are created beings with limits. Resting is necessary—not lazy.
Resting our bodies comes naturally to us. Though, since the fall, resting our souls in the Lord has been quite peculiar to us. While the body’s natural place of resting is a bed, the natural place of resting for the soul is in the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Are we people who are prone to taking time to reflect on the people, things, and experiences that God has blessed our lives with? Are we people who set aside moments to sit in nature and dwell in the Creator’s handiwork? Are we people who know the value of simply remaining still and becoming aware of God’s omnipresence? Or, are we a people who incorrectly label fruitful and needful spiritual rest as sinful laziness?
It is in the slowing of our busyness—becoming like the potato—that we can soak in God’s presence, remind ourselves of who He is, and grow in relationship with Him. Though, sadly, our culture balks at the idea of doing something that lacks any merit of achievement, vocational advancement, or monetary gain. God wants us to work hard…but not with a soul that knows nothing of rest. Our transition into the Eternal Rest of God will be rough if we don’t make space to learn to rest our souls in Him now.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Jesus
Jared M. Webb, Assistant Pastor
[i] Richard Swenson, M.D., Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 2004), 195.