Rick Ezell writes: “In the Challenger space shuttle disaster, key NASA officials made the ill-fated decision to go ahead with the launch after working twenty hours straight and getting only two to three hours of sleep the night before. Their error in judgment cost the lives of seven astronauts and nearly killed the U.S. space program.

When we ignore our need for rest and renewal we do so at the peril of others and ourselves.

Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that show us were to go. We make faulty judgments. We miss the solitude that gives us wisdom. Consequently, because of our lack of rest, our lives are in danger. Error in our judgment may cost us, too, our lives.

How have we allowed this to happen? How did we get so terribly rushed in a world saturated with work and responsibility, yet somehow void or joy and delight?

Rest and relaxation are not optional. Rest was never meant to be a luxury, but a necessity for growth, maturity, and health. We need rest because our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being demands periodic breaks. The old proverb is true, “If you don’t come apart and rest awhile, you will come apart.”

In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between action and rest. We need to regain that rhythm.

When you listen to an orchestra, all the parts work together in harmony. The music has balance and rhythm. Without rhythm, the music is awkward and out of sync. It just doesn’t flow right.

Have you ever felt as if your life isn’t flowing right, as if you’ve lost the rhythm? To have rhythm in your life, four ingredients are necessary: rest, worship, play, and work. Too many of us change and reverse these ingredients and end up with work, work, work, and perhaps a little play.

Gordon Dahl wrote, ‘Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.’ Or to keep with our metaphor, their lifestyles resemble a song in dire need of rhythm.”

 

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About The Author

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Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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