My wife and I have a plaque above our bed that displays the well-known words of Matthew 11:28. When making our bed every morning, I try to stop and take the 30 seconds required to read and absorb the message of this Scriptural passage.
Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest.
The other morning, I was running on our treadmill in the basement – something I love to do but, admittedly, do very inconsistently. I was hitting a point when my body was growing weak and I felt I was really laboring through my run, unsure if I could continue.
So, as I will often do when I exercise, I reached for my bottle of Gatorade.
Now, it’s normal for me to take a few gulps in order to stay hydrated and to relieve my dry throat. But it wasn’t until after I showered and made our bed that I realized a deeper relevance of that gesture.
Had I not taken a drink at those points of feeling drained, I likely would not have enjoyed as gratifying a run, having to scale back on my speed and incline (lessening the challenge of my workout in the process). Or, worse yet, I would have had to end my run prematurely due to more than simple fatigue (cramping or chest pain, for instance).
The same could be said for cyclists or marathoners who access water stands along their route, in effort to replenish and finish strong as they advance into the final leg of their race.
Other athletes also need to head to the bench for a break so they may return to action in better form to help their team.
Playing tired can compromise their ability to perform at peak level, thereby negatively affecting their team and perhaps putting their chances of victory in jeopardy.
For instance, how often do we see a hockey player refuse a line change and elect to stay on the ice, only to hook or trip an opponent who passes him and takes advantage of a scoring opportunity?
That player must feel oh so guilty watching from the penalty box as his shorthanded teammates surrender a pivotal goal.
Such an occurrence is not limited to the sporting arena, of course.
As a high school teacher, I know far too well how some students fall prey to the temptation of plagiarism on essays or copying classmates’ answers during tests because they do not adequately prepare for their evaluations.
So stressed or tired are they that they choose instead to veg on the couch and watch a movie marathon on TV or scan their social media profiles late into the night.
We are reminded in sports and in school to take a break when tired in order for our bodies to perform at their maximum.
Our bodies are not the only part of us that needs rest, though.
The mind must also work at its highest point and can only do so if given full opportunity.
How many people resort to unhealthy means when feeling pressure in their lives, including drugs, alcohol, adultery or violence? Certainly, none of these methods lead to a promising outcome and do not provide any long-lasting respite or comfort, either.
Our loving God promises us He will provide the energy we require to flourish in life. (Jeremiah 31:25)
But just as we need to rest our bodies and minds, both of these depend on a healthy and rested soul to function most effectively – a soul that thirsts for God. (Psalm 42:1-2 & Matthew 11:29)
As sports drinks serve to give thirst aid during exercise, God’s words and teachings provide invaluable aid for our souls.
We find these messages from God revealed throughout the Bible, especially Jesus’ gospel.
Devoting time and attention to Jesus’ calling through Scriptural reading and prayer can lead to the discovery of peace we so desperately crave and need in our lives.
With such tranquility attainable from God, we receive our second wind and can both endure and overcome the many challenges facing us.
Finding this rest through the Lord, then, will help us refuel and recharge for all that may await us in life.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make our bed.