Rest: It’s not just a vacation, but a command

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It’s hard to imagine people not using vacation days, but it is very common. In fact, Project Time Off reported that American workers accumulated 705 million unused vacation days in 2017, up from 662 million in 2016.

A total of 56 percent of American workers will not take a vacation this year – period. Of the 44 percent who will actually try to take time off, 76 percent of them will work while on vacation.

Shame on any company that requires its employees to check email, call the office or work for even a “little while” while they are on vacation.

I was listening to a presentation earlier this week by success mentor Darren Hardy, who was talking about the same subject on a daily video. He said workers generally feel guilty about taking vacation. While at work, they feel guilty because they want to be at the beach with their families. But, while at the beach, they feel guilty about “the team” they are leaving behind, so they opt to work.

Studies show that time off – completely away from work – actually works to boost productivity. The rest re-energizes people, refreshes their spirits, fills them with joy, reduces stress and improves attitudes, which does wonders for improving relationships.

While attending a Promise Keepers gathering a few years ago, one of the speakers said men are all about work, play and worship. They worship their work, work at their play and play at their worship.

God not only commanded rest in the fourth commandment he gave to Moses and the Israelites.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.” – Exodus 20:8-10

Then, in the same passage, God reminds us that he modeled rest in creating the world.

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:11

The Pharisees took it to the extreme, not even allowing someone to walk on the Sabbath because he may pick up a seed in his sandal and deposit it somewhere else, which could be considered “planting” or work.

But God meant for us to take time off to enjoy his creation, and those people we love

Before computers and cell phones, it was easy to cut the cord from work because it was almost impossible for others to track us down when on vacation. Today, we check email multiple times during the day, which always leads to responding. We may even be asked to sit in on conference calls or staff meetings. It’s silly.

I know first-hand the devastating consequences of working without taking time off. From 2014 to 2017, I was living the dream of many people. I traveled the nation in a motorhome full-time. I did it to attend shows and interview RV industry professionals as part of my job.

It allowed me to visit all 48 of the lower states at least once during that three-year period. But, there was little joy in the experience. Although I was in some of the most scenic and historic places of America, I often found myself working 12- to 14-hour days.

Within three years, I was completely, utterly burned out. My attitude was a telltale sign as was my productivity. It has taken more than a year to recover from that burnout.

Ask any doctor and he or she will agree that lack of rest destroys mental health and physical health. A regular period of physical and emotional recovery is essential to productivity – and for being a loving and kind person.

Think about it. Are you better able to ward off colds or serious illness when you are under stress or fully relaxed?  Are you more inclined to obey the commandments of God and teachings of Christ when you are tired and lounging on the couch, or when you are excited about your purpose and mission.

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall.” – Hebrews 4:9

In Mark 2:27, Jesus proclaims, ““The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

It’s a period of rest where we aren’t guilted into more obligation and activity, but so that we aren’t exhausted all the time.

““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Schedule time off today! God commands it for your own good and He set the example for us to follow.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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