I never truly thought of rest as useful. I grew up in a culture where work was lauded and failure to be productive was reprimanded. Most of us were probably raised in the same conditions.
Hard work is often seen as the only key to success. The only way to achieve purpose is to work and work until we achieve the goals we have set out to achieve. And that's true by all means. Being diligent and hardworking is crucial if we want to respond to God's calling. But in the same way, that hard work is necessary to a life lived with purpose, as is rest.
We often don't think of rest as a requirement to fulfilling purpose. It's often viewed as a detriment to fulfilling purpose. But if we look at the truth of God's Word and the natural cycles even of the world, we will see that rest is not just a helpful tool to pursuing calling but a non-negotiable necessity.
God's plan for each and every one of us is massive. It's bigger than ourselves. If you put that together our limited capability, tendency to fail and make mistakes, it seems that there's no way that we will ever fulfill what God has called us for.
What rest is truly about
What is the true message of rest? It's not choosing to be lazy or lax about things. That's not rest. What God really wants is an attitude of faith and trust. Why does God call us to rest? Because when we rest, we declare that God's hand continues to work when we are not.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Our calling is not just about us. In fact, it has very little to do with us, our capabilities and our roles. The primary element to our purpose is the power of God that works through us and for us to fulfill His very purposes.
Have you ever had that feeling that you were working hard non-stop but your path just wouldn't straighten up? Transactions would go wrong, relationships weren't working, marriages kept failing and ministries kept flopping. It's most likely because we fail to trust God and acknowledge Him by choosing rest when God commands it.
Choose to be still
That's why Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Many times, it's when we are still that we see God's name exalted through the works of our hands. Rest is essential to our calling because it takes the focus off our hard work, our abilities and our plans and puts focus on God's calling and God's work.
It's always been about God's work. When we allow His work to manifest in the times when we step back and be still, God moves in a way mightier than when we would do things on our own. Rest is really about trusting God and surrendering to Him. When we do that, God fulfills his good, pleasing and perfect will.