God created us to need rest. Our bodies are not designed to always be on the go, but our fast-paced society never seems to slow down. More and more people are becoming overworked, stressed out, and eventually burned out.
The standard that God Himself modeled in the Garden of Eden is that we should get all of our work done in six days, and make sure that we have at least one day in seven for rest. This allows our bodies and minds to recuperate, and it helps us stay sharp, thus enabling us to focus on Christ. Sometimes we need to put everything on hold and just rest.
There are at least two instances in the Bible where a good nap made a big difference in someone’s life. The first instance was with Elijah in 1 Kings 19. After an exhausting day on Mount Carmel defeating the prophets of Baal, Elijah got a death threat from Jezebel. Elijah became so depressed over this threat that he began to wish for his own death. But after he lay down under a tree and took a good nap he had a different perspective. The Lord visited him during that time and gave him special bread and water, and Elijah was able to go 40 days without further nourishment.
The other instance is with David. Before David wore the crown of Israel he was a fugitive; the current king, Saul, was trying to have David killed, and the former shepherd spent a decade on the lam. Psalm 3 is divided into two small parts: in the first four verses David is complaining about how many enemies he has, and in the last four verses he praises God for delivering him from those enemies. What makes the difference? In verse 5 he says that he laid down for a little nap, and the Lord sustained him.
It is important that we realize that these naps did not improve the circumstances these men were in, but the naps did help their perspective. Whether the enemy was Queen Jezebel or King Saul, both were still alive when God’s man woke up from the nap. But once they were refreshed their attitude changed and they remembered that God was with them.
In a world where we are constantly pressured to do more, let me encourage you to do less. Make sure you are doing what God leads you to do, and not what you are guilt-tripped into doing. And by all means, set aside time to just rest and refresh. Everything will go on without you, and you will feel better after you do.