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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Creating time for oneself is important to our health and well-being. Being a Lutheran school teacher, we often are pulled into several areas all at once. We are the teachers, coaches, athletic directors, recess monitors, lunch-room monitors, and we often find ourselves working daily without a break. We get so caught up with ministry that we often do not find time for ourselves. Finding time for one’s self is important to our relationship with God and for our well-being.

It’s easy for us to keep busy and accomplish things, and we certainly should focus on being active for God’s glory, but action cannot and should not be our only focus.

Christ has been our greatest example of ministry. He traveled from city to city, sharing the good news of God’s amazing love for His people. Jesus was ever so active in the ministry, preaching, teaching, and performing miracles. He’s always seemed to be on the go. However, Jesus always found time for REST.

Jesus exemplified on numerous occasions the importance of rest. According to Matthew 14:22–24 we see Jesus demonstrating the importance of rest after a long day of work. Jesus had just finished feeding 5,000 people. He was probably exhausted by the crowd and was seeking solemnity. He needed time away from the crowd to rest, time to pray and recuperate. Just as Jesus did on that very day, we too need to find that rest that’s so important in our daily living.

So what kind of rest is needed? 

It’s easy to think when I say we rest I mean laying on the couch, an afternoon nap, lounging on the beach, scrolling through our various social media accounts, or even watching a movie. All those are ideas of pausing from our daily routine of ministry, but the REST I am talking about is spiritual rest.”

Spiritual rest doesn’t necessarily mean Bible study, but the opportunity to take time and seek out God’s face, listen to God’s direction, and to find peace within God’s presence. When I think of spiritual restI think of the story of Mary and Martha. When Jesus visited their house, Martha was more concerned about making sure the house was clean, food prepared, and everything good for the visitors. However, Mary was more focused on hearing from Jesus. She sat at his feet to find that REST. Martha was so concerned that she asked Jesus to order Mary to help her, but Jesus reminded her “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10). Jesus did not discredit the hard work Martha was putting in, but He reminded her that it’s important to spend time being in the presence of God.

Oftentimes, as teachers we get caught up with being so busy that we burn out, which is a result of not finding time to be re-centered and focused on the peace of God. In order for us to continue our mission and to be fully equipped to do God’s work we need to replenish our empty sack with God’s peace, love, and mercy. Finding this peace helps us to have peace with others. Finding rest in God also enables us to continue our mission with renewed energy to conquer challenges that lie ahead.

Kevin Williams is a Middle School Math Teacher at Unity Lutheran Christian Elementary School in East St. Louis, IL. He has completed 15 years as a teacher in various schools. Kevin attended Concordia University Wisconsin for two years and then transferred and earned a BA at the City University of NY (College of Staten Island) and an MA from University of Nebraska Kearney (Curriculum and Instructions/ESL). He also served as a Youth Director for two years. Kevin enjoys coaching athletics, hiking, camping, and baking.

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