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Sleeping In My Office

By Pastor Phillip Howel
web posted April 9, 2014

RELIGION – I know us preacher’s have a bad rap for not working hard. I get it all the time: “Must be nice to only work two days a week.” And “What do you with your time?” I had one friend at church who told me his daughter would ask when they drove by the church “what does Pastor Philip do all day?” He responded “he sleeps.” He said after a few trips by the church his young daughter said “He must be real tired because he sleeps a lot!”

Well, I am not going to defend how hard preachers work. I love what I do, so I very seldom see it as work, but today my family went to Greenwood and I have watched a movie, read a book, worked out and not done much else. 

The reality is that we all need a break.  We do not need to waste time, we all probably do far too much of this.  I can’t imagine being asked by God “Phillip, why did you not spend more time with Me in prayer?” Then looking at the Lord and answering, “I was playing on Facebook Sir.”  Rest, however, is not time wasted.  C.H. Spurgeon writes that “The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body… Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” (The Minister’s Fainting Fits, Lectures to My Students, Lecture XI, 1856.)

Rest is knowing our limits. Many of us don’t like limits. We have a “Sleep when you die” and “The more you sleep the less you live!” We pound energy drinks and have an almost nationwide obsession with coffee.  Sometimes our refusal to rest as we should comes from a prideful fear that the world will stop turning without us. We have no reason to fear because we have a God who never sleeps. Psalm 121:3-4 “He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber.  (4) Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.”  Furthermore in Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.”

So because God never rest, we can. Jesus honored the Sabbath and rested. Matthew 8:24 records that “Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was sleeping.” Jesus was tired and had to have a break. One of my favorite quotes on rest comes from Melvin Tinker “Here is the Son of God, who in less than three years achieved far more than kings and generals had ever achieved in a thousand years, taking time out.

Why? Well, He knew His needs and limitations – even He couldn’t work twenty-four hours a day seven days a week – and neither can we. But also He could have the confidence to do this because of His quiet, serene knowledge that His time was in His Father’s hands that He wasn’t going to change the world by one endless round of activity, but by doing things in God’s time in God’s way. (Wisdom to Live By, Christian Focus Publications, 1998, p. 132-133)

So work hard, don’t sinfully waste time but don’t be prideful and burn yourself out either.  Know your limits and honor God by taking a good nap every now and then!

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