In the Word: Working to Actively Rest [PODCAST]

Urban Cusp in partnership with J Prophet, an independent recording artist, presents “In the Word Wednesdays.” #IWW is a weekly podcast seeking to tap into the transformative power of the Word in culturally relevant ways. J Prophet offers words of hope and Christian inspiration that empower us to meet life’s daily challenges.

Scripture: John 5:16-17
“So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”
Scripture: Mark 6:30-31
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”

Just as God rested on the seventh day of Creation we are all called to intentionally rest from our work. Recognizing the Sabbath and keeping it holy are commands that Jesus’ community intensely revered. But on a couple of occasions (Mark 3:1-6, John 9:1-15) Jesus breaks Sabbath in order to heal people under the logic that it is more lawful to save life than to allow life to perish on the Sabbath.

What we can learn from Jesus, here, is that resting is more complicated than it seems. We should, indeed, possess an unrelenting, unyielding work ethic. As God is always at His work, we, too, should approach our jobs and careers with a passionate vigor. But perhaps we should also consider rest as a part of our work. Without rest, the quality of our work wanes. And sometimes it’s hard work to actually slow down.

We can become so consumed by our drive to complete tasks and fulfill responsibilities that taking a break becomes a task in itself. But we’ve got to work to regenerate the energy required to fulfill our tasks with excellence. We can do this by actively resting. Because so many of us are conditioned to constant movement, we’ve got to apply an aggressive patience to our times of rest, knowing that taking a break enables us to work more efficiently. We’ve got to fight through the anxiety of sitting still.

Of course we, like Jesus, should evaluate when we rest. As God has sanctioned a day of Sabbath, it is certainly important not only for spiritual development, but also for physical recuperation. Setting aside a day of the week, or even just time during the day, to spend time with God and with ourselves allows us to find balance with our busy work schedules.

I encourage us to take Sabbath – deliberate rest. This does not mean we privilege rest over work and become lazy. But it means we understand rest to be an inherent and important part of our work. In the process of taking care of others, we need to remember to take care of ourselves. Take heart. Take a break!


Rodney "JP" Reynolds is a hip-hop artist and minister from Mt. Vernon, NY. His artistic and written content often reflect a perspective deeply concerned with issues of social justice and existential reality, especially as they relate to matters of faith. He is a graduate of Yale University where he earned his B.A in 2010 and M.Div. in 2013. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @JProphetPAP.

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