Rhythms of Rest

Sand dunes and clear blue skies

“Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30



We live in a day and age when the advance of technology enables many people to work anytime and anywhere. There are many benefits to doing our jobs remotely, such as no longer being forced to commute to an office and no longer being confined to a desk, cubicle, or job site. But these benefits come with a cost. Already prone to bring our work home with us, one of these costs is that the distinction between work and leisure time tends to blur.

Without these once clearly defined boundaries, it can be easy—sometimes even expected—to keep working until we have no functional choice but to take a break. Onward and upward becomes the mantra until our bodies tell us otherwise and force us to slow down. Though we may speak of working smarter and not harder, we don’t necessarily view regular resting to be a wise move. Pausing or stopping our work is not something we cannot afford to do. Rest is perceived as a reward, something we can indulge in once we’ve earned some time off.

Rest, however, is not something we have to earn. From the very beginning of creation, rest is a gift given to us by our Creator. Throughout the establishment and order of all life, God declares each phase of the divine building project as “good” and, ultimately, “very good.” However, the last leg in bringing all life into being is proclaimed to be more than good; it is distinctively labeled as “holy”—sacred above all others. This final work by God is the carving out of a day—an intentional, designated, repeated space in the fabric of time for all life to rest.

But the seventh measure of the divine masterpiece of creation—the full stop inscribed into the final stanza of God’s magnum opus—orchestrates more than a single day of rest in a week. One beat of respite for every six measures of labor establishes a regular rhythm of pause and refreshment to be received and practiced moment to moment as we live and breathe. This impulse, not only to take a break but to recess in order to be renewed, is hardwired into the circadian cycle that syncs the internal clock of our bodies with the transitions between day and night.

Our Creator is the first to enter this cadence of ceasing to do in order to be. But the One who holds all things—all life and creation together—does not rest out of any sense of need—of tiredness or depletion. God’s repose is for our benefit—to underscore our need for recreation and revival. In this symbolic act, our Creator models for us what entering into this divinely established rhythm of rest ought to be like as God stops to soak up and relish the goodness of all that has been made. Likewise, our rest is about pausing to savor and delight in the good things in life—the blessings that perpetually flow from God’s hand.

Our tendency is to believe we must work until we need to rest. But humanity has been designed to rest first and then to work—to work out of our rest—the rest God provides for us. The start of humanity’s journey comes at the end of our Creator’s work. Our industry derives not from anything we devise on our own but rather from abiding—taking stock and giving thanks for what we have been given to work with—for all that the Lord provides.

If we try to invert this, we labor in vain. We end up making a god out of work rather than enjoying the work of God. And when work becomes our god, we never find the time or the space to rest. We become enslaved by our drive to define who we are, our success, and our legacy through our careers. Addicted to our work, as we become the job, we never experience the fruit of our labor because there always is something more to do. All our effort to make a living instead of living the life our Creator offers to us leaves us exhausted and restless.

It is into this vicious cycle of diminishing returns and gnawing dissatisfaction that God comes down in person and invites us to cease all our laboring in vain and come home. Jesus enters into the tyranny of our urgency—our predisposition to work ourselves to the bone—and empowers us to live to the beat of a different drum. Instead of chasing a life where we work in order to rest and only find lasting peace when we die, Jesus calls us to follow him in learning how to a life where our work comes out of our rest, where our work becomes less of a chore and more of an opportunity to play—to explore, to create, to build something everlasting.



Words: Chris Tweitmann

Images: Keith Hardy, Ivars Krutainis

Sand dunes and clear blue skies
One tree amidst a dry desert
Sand dunes in a desert

“Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30



We live in a day and age when the advance of technology enables many people to work anytime and anywhere. There are many benefits to doing our jobs remotely, such as no longer being forced to commute to an office and no longer being confined to a desk, cubicle, or job site. But these benefits come with a cost. Already prone to bring our work home with us, one of these costs is that the distinction between work and leisure time tends to blur.

Without these once clearly defined boundaries, it can be easy—sometimes even expected—to keep working until we have no functional choice but to take a break. Onward and upward becomes the mantra until our bodies tell us otherwise and force us to slow down. Though we may speak of working smarter and not harder, we don’t necessarily view regular resting to be a wise move. Pausing or stopping our work is not something we cannot afford to do. Rest is perceived as a reward, something we can indulge in once we’ve earned some time off.

Rest, however, is not something we have to earn. From the very beginning of creation, rest is a gift given to us by our Creator. Throughout the establishment and order of all life, God declares each phase of the divine building project as “good” and, ultimately, “very good.” However, the last leg in bringing all life into being is proclaimed to be more than good; it is distinctively labeled as “holy”—sacred above all others. This final work by God is the carving out of a day—an intentional, designated, repeated space in the fabric of time for all life to rest.

But the seventh measure of the divine masterpiece of creation—the full stop inscribed into the final stanza of God’s magnum opus—orchestrates more than a single day of rest in a week. One beat of respite for every six measures of labor establishes a regular rhythm of pause and refreshment to be received and practiced moment to moment as we live and breathe. This impulse, not only to take a break but to recess in order to be renewed, is hardwired into the circadian cycle that syncs the internal clock of our bodies with the transitions between day and night.

Our Creator is the first to enter this cadence of ceasing to do in order to be. But the One who holds all things—all life and creation together—does not rest out of any sense of need—of tiredness or depletion. God’s repose is for our benefit—to underscore our need for recreation and revival. In this symbolic act, our Creator models for us what entering into this divinely established rhythm of rest ought to be like as God stops to soak up and relish the goodness of all that has been made. Likewise, our rest is about pausing to savor and delight in the good things in life—the blessings that perpetually flow from God’s hand.

Our tendency is to believe we must work until we need to rest. But humanity has been designed to rest first and then to work—to work out of our rest—the rest God provides for us. The start of humanity’s journey comes at the end of our Creator’s work. Our industry derives not from anything we devise on our own but rather from abiding—taking stock and giving thanks for what we have been given to work with—for all that the Lord provides.

If we try to invert this, we labor in vain. We end up making a god out of work rather than enjoying the work of God. And when work becomes our god, we never find the time or the space to rest. We become enslaved by our drive to define who we are, our success, and our legacy through our careers. Addicted to our work, as we become the job, we never experience the fruit of our labor because there always is something more to do. All our effort to make a living instead of living the life our Creator offers to us leaves us exhausted and restless.

It is into this vicious cycle of diminishing returns and gnawing dissatisfaction that God comes down in person and invites us to cease all our laboring in vain and come home. Jesus enters into the tyranny of our urgency—our predisposition to work ourselves to the bone—and empowers us to live to the beat of a different drum. Instead of chasing a life where we work in order to rest and only find lasting peace when we die, Jesus calls us to follow him in learning how to a life where our work comes out of our rest, where our work becomes less of a chore and more of an opportunity to play—to explore, to create, to build something everlasting.



Words: Chris Tweitmann

Images: Keith Hardy, Ivars Krutainis

Sand dunes amidst a desert

Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.


Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.