Like Dough, We Won’t Rise Without Rest

Consider the common dinner roll. The pivotal time in the life of a roll is the rising, when it is left alone, under a cloth, in a warm place away from drafts. The dough inhales while it rests, emerging from the cloth a grand thing indeed.

Rest fortifies.

Consider, too, the farmer’s land. Every few seasons the farmer will give a portion of his land a rest, so that the soil, depleted from years of giving, can take for a while.

Rest enriches.

Now look at me (just don’t look too closely, or you’ll see how old I’m getting around the eyes). All week long I pour myself out, as I know you do, and by Sunday I am out of gas, my batteries dead. I am a lung after a long exhale, burning for air.

God knows we need rest. He demonstrated it on the seventh day of creation. He mandated it in the fourth commandment. He reiterated it in Matthew 11. He wrote 8 hours of it into each day, and one day of it into each week.

But somewhere along the line, the Sabbath became just another day to get things done, to catch up on chores and prepare for the coming week. Church became a source of stress and a consumer of time.

I am not exempt from this problem. Often I find myself exhausted on Sunday nights, needing a break more than ever, rather than feeling fortified and enriched as God intended.

Jesus said, “Come unto me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:27-29). He didn’t say, “Come unto church,” nor did he say, “Come unto Bible study.” He said, “Come unto me.”

Please don’t hear me dissing church. Church is essential. We have several church options where we live and we go nearly every Sunday morning. We sing and we listen and we learn. We fellowship and we give our offerings. We even wear nice clothes (if clothes without holes constitutes nice). But we don’t berate ourselves if we’re a little late, or if we need to stay home completely and never change out of our PJs, blaring worship music until it’s time for a group nap.

The point is people don’t look down on each other for climbing under the covers each night to go to sleep. We must sleep. It’s how we’re made. The same is true of rest. If all we do is exhale, we’re not really breathing. And if we never spend time in a warm place under a cloth away from drafts, we’re not ever going to rise.

What helps you exhale, so you can inhale? What’s going to church like where you live? Give us a snap shot.

Photo Credit: Chiot’s Run via Compfight cc

6 Comments

  1. M'Lynn April 23, 2014

    “But somewhere along the line, the Sabbath became just another day to get things done, to catch up on chores and prepare for the coming week.” Yes. I agree! This is disturbing to me. The secularization of the Sabbath. I read one of those “cleaning schedules” on Pinterest the other day. Sunday was their day to clean the bathroom! Really? Is that how far our society has fallen? Instead of intentionally finding time to rest we clean the toilet? (if you haven’t noticed, this is a soapbox issue for me!) I like your dough analogy. Dough has to rest. Also, you have to be very intentional about what you put in the dough so it can rise properly. In the same way, we won’t get all we can out of our Sabbath if we’re not intentional about our preparations, as Kimberly’s post reminded me.

    1. Kayla Rupp April 23, 2014

      I like your point about the importance of what goes into the dough. Too much salt or not enough sugar, etc., and the bread won’t come out right.

      Thanks!

  2. Brittany April 23, 2014

    Sunday has NEVER been for me or my family what the Sabbath is supposed to be, especially being in ministry for much of my life. So when we moved overseas, we decided to have a Sabbath day separate from Sunday’s responsibilities. Friday has become our declared Sabbath. We don’t have language school, we don’t have any meetings or responsibilities. We have family time. A day to rest, or go to the park, or do something fun as a family. To play. There have been times that someone has called and “needed” us on a Friday, but we decided from the beginning that we need people to understand that on Friday, the answer is “no.” It has been so crucial for our family and is a great practice!

  3. Jessica Hoover April 23, 2014

    I’ve become such a believer in the value of a Sabbath rest and that means even if it doesn’t look like a crazy hectic day of Church. There is such value to Sunday corporate worship, but that can look a lot of different ways on any given week. Thanks for your beautiful reminder.

  4. Elizabeth April 23, 2014

    I think Sundays are a tricky thing. I LOVE church. We have the privilege of attending an international church with a wonderful focus on prayer and worship, and it is incredibly soul-feeding. However, each Sunday is a marathon — a long service with kids, and for me, it’s always a very emotional experience — always connecting with God about something. So even though that is good for my soul, it wears out my mind and body and emotions. I’m pretty much wiped out for the day after church! But skipping church wears down my spirit more, in the long run. So Sunday afternoons are reserved for rest — the kids have to play quietly so we can rest!

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