You Must Rest

Tonight I leave for a week long vacation with my bride. You won’t be hearing from me for a week!

I’m so looking forward to this break. As I’ve grown older (and hopefully a little wiser), I’ve learned I have to go away on a vacation. If I don’t go away… I work!

Do not worship other Gods
Do not worship idols
Do not steal

Check, check, check…

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy

Hmmmm… uh… does that mean the whole day?

It’s funny, but sometimes the commandment I have the most trouble keeping is the one that tells me to rest. You would think that one shouldn’t be a problem, but I really have trouble “resting.” Call me high strung or an overachiever, but it’s hard for me to slow down.

Maybe that’s why God commanded it. Here’s on of the times he lays it out really clear:

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest. (Exodus 34:21 NIV)

I love it. He says, “Even during the plowing season and harvest…”

I used to wonder why he said that. Then I visited my brother’s church where a good number of the members are hay farmers. Come July, they don’t stop… at all! They work sunup to sundown and don’t stop until all the hay is cut, raked, dried, bailed and stacked. Church attendance is a little down that month.

It would be easy for me to judge, but I often do the same thing. A writing project is due, I’m speaking and I’m supposed to take a day off when I get home… but I don’t.

God’s like, “Ahem! Even during the plowing season, you moron!”

I have learned to schedule rest. That means not even walking in my office, because I know I’ll get drawn in by an email, and next thing I know it, I’m working.

I’ve learned to go away on vacations. If I stay home, sometimes it’s hard to break free of work. And frankly… when I don’t get rest… I get less productive.

It’s kind of like God actually knew what he was talking about… huh?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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8 Responses to You Must Rest

  1. Elise Chapman says:

    Have a wonderful vacation–Jonathan–you deserve it. And, your wife deserves to have you just to herself for a little while, too! I think there’s something scriptural there too?! lol Praying for total rest and relaxation!

  2. Melody says:

    Good for you! And thank you for setting an obedient example for those who look to you for leadership. It matters. THANK YOU!! And enjoy your break!

  3. Leland says:

    Great advice! I am learning the same lessons myself. Have a wonderful time!

  4. Rodney says:

    Great encouragement. I used to think that working for a Christian organization, that I wouldn’t have to worry about this. That my boss would tell me to take a different day off when something came up that required work on a normal day off, or when I’m away on a work trip, to take some time off when I return.

    I’ve realized that I’m the only one who can monitor my time and make sure I am taking time to rest. I still feel weird asking for time off, even when I know I have it coming, but I am striving to be better.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Nancy Head says:

    Love it! Flee from the Devil… FLEE to the beach, to the mountains…wherever your rest is. Glad that God is with us everywhere!

  6. Aylene says:

    I really paid attention to this blog because I have trouble resting, especially in the early morning hours. I seem to do my best work between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. There’s always “one more thing” I can cross off my To-Do list. I’m struggling to change that habit. Uh, Jonathan, noting the time you posted your blog, it looks like you might have the same problem! 🙂 We might both try to sleep at more regular hours. That rest is important, too.

  7. Danielle says:


  8. dan manns says:

    when it comes to work there comes a point of diminishing returns. skipping rest leads to less productivity & less creativity! a friend of mine often says: “one day of favor is worth a thousand days of labor”.