Weekly Devotional: Rest

By Jared Ulrich

ocean at sunset

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

The older I get the harder it is to be still, rest and just enjoy life. It probably isn’t a surprise to anyone that we live in the fastest, most hyper-productive culture in human history. Our lives are filled to the brim with work, activities, family responsibilities and the list goes on. We jump from one thing to the next…

Go, Go, Go.

Here at Grand Canyon University, we have an amazing community of faculty, staff and students who work extremely hard from August to May. Talk about go, go, go! The culture on this campus is alive and buzzing. Once May comes around we finally have summer break – a time to rest, take a breath and take our foot off the gas.

Unfortunately, for some, rest is nearly an impossible reality.

My wife and I decided this summer to take a vacation to Europe and fulfill a dream of ours to go on a Mediterranean cruise. Now, doesn’t that sound relaxing? And the truth is that it was indeed relaxing and restful. However, I was not prepared for the difficult task of slowing down and fully enjoying the moment.

At first, I found it next to impossible to rest.

Despite having no Internet, no emails, text messages or cell service and being out in the middle of the ocean, I still found my mind racing with stresses, worries and to-do’s that I should have left back home. I kept telling myself to forget about it, but unfortunately that is easier said than done.

Why couldn’t I just be in the moment and enjoy God’s incredible creation?

As I struggled with the reality of not being able to rest and enjoy an incredible vacation, Matthew 11:28-29 came to the forefront of my mind. These very words of Jesus hit me like a ton of bricks. I was weary and burdened. And yes, a vacation as amazing as a Mediterranean cruise could help me feel refreshed and relaxed. Having a little fun in life is a great way to live life to the full. However, it is not the solution for being weary and burdened. It will be fun. It will be exciting. It may even be restful. But it won’t fix the deeper issue.

Only Jesus can do that.

And that was the first step for me in overcoming my inability to rest on my incredible vacation.

We all need rest. We all need times in our lives where we don’t have to worry about to-do’s, obligations or responsibilities. It’s why God established the Sabbath in Genesis 2:2. As humans, we need rest, but true rest won’t just come from amazing vacations or binge-watching the latest Netflix series. These things aren’t bad or wrong. They can certainly aid in the process of finding rest and enjoyment in life. However, they are not the answer to our busy, weary, hectic lives.

Only Jesus can offer the rest we actually need.

The good news is that He is always ready for us to come to Him and give us this rest.

So, this summer break, enjoy your family and friends, go on a wild adventure, explore a new place you’ve never been and live life to the full. But just remember: Jesus alone is the only answer to our weary and burdened lives. Only He can truly give us the rest we need. Don’t neglect to run to Him first!

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.