A Leader's Rest

The venerable preacher, Vance Havner, used to look over the top of his glasses and say to his congregation, “If you don't come apart to rest, you will come apart.”  While not all stress is bad, too much over a long period of time can kill. Literally! Many leaders are wound pretty tight, which can lead to everything from mild anger and irritation to road rage and even emotional breakdowns. An old Greek motto had it right, “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”

If you're a leader (corporate, business, managerial, marital, parental, ministerial, educational, Christian, non-Christian, athletic, civic, whatever), you know what “bends your bow.” ---non-stop conflict, unmotivated employees, undisciplined students, unnecessary meetings, busyness, screaming deadlines, working late, traffic, demanding clients, unhappy church people, financial burdens, to name a few. You scream. 'GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!”

Good advice! Do it!! Give yourself a break. A BREAK REST. Rest removes a leader from the tyranny of the urgent to see what is really important. Rest renews faith in your leadership. It can lift the dark veil of fear when you're exhausted. Rest invigorates. Snow skiers feel invigorated when they sit back and rest in a chairlift. They catch their breath, take in the panorama of majestic mountains, and relax before pushing off for another black diamond run.

Our Creator rested from His creation work. Remember? “By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” (Genesis 2:2; Hebrews 4:4). The Almighty God didn't need to rest, He chose to. Why?  He rested because He considered His work complete AND to leave us an example to follow. . .to pattern our lives after.

Years later, God deliberately included the importance of resting in His top ten priorities called the Ten Commandments. These are the ten things God cares about the most when it comes to wholesome human behavior. Number four on the list reads, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath (Hebrew word for “seventh”) of the LORD your God; in it you shall do no work.”  (Exodus 20:8-11) Lead, but then choose to rest and relax. On your day of rest, worship with your family. Find relief from stress. Push away from the computer. Turn off the business cell phone. Give your body time to refuel. Allow your mind to be renewed in the Word of God. Let your emotions be refreshed and restored.

Jesus speaks of rest. In Matthew 11: 28, He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened (from your leadership tasks), and I will give you rest.” When you go through an airport, you'll see some people carry heavy luggage the old-fashioned way---by hand.  Sweat pours off their head, their face bright red, their heart pounds. Others walk freely, quickly, no sweat. Their suitcases are big and heavy, they weigh about the same as those who struggle. What's the difference? Those who move with ease have wheels on their suitcases. By using the wheels, the weight is carried differently, so the traveler can rest and be at ease. Jesus says, “I am your wheels. Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened. . . let me carry you. and your baggage ... let's roll.”

Many airports have chapels. Airport designers know that people who travel bring their pain and problems, stress and anxieties with them, as they rush from place to place. In a busy airport, there’s a place of rest, a serene environment where travelers can rest spiritually between destinations. In your soul, God has created a chapel—a place of rest, where you can talk and He will sit down beside you and listen.