I was recently pondering the importance of rest in the life of, well anyone, but especially those who lead. Whether you run a business or lead a ministry, an essential to longevity is rest. I was searching the internet using the phrase "the importance of rest" and the top results were from the world of cooking. The importance of resting a pork roast. Not exactly what I was looking for. But I did a little reading on the subject and it was surprisingly enlightening. No, really.
The reason it is important to allow any meat to rest after exposure to the heat of the cooking process is to allow for the redistribution of the juices. During exposure to the intense heat, the juices of the meat gravitate to the center of the meat for preservation purposes and it is caused by the tensing of the muscle fibers. But if you remove the meat from the intense heat and allow it to rest, the muscle fibers relax, thus allowing the juices to flow evenly throughout, rendering a more tender and evenly prepared finished product.
If only we humans could grasp this truth. We spend so much time in the intense heat of leadership, be it running a business, leading a ministry, or really any sort of leadership. And so many leaders find it difficult to pull away from the heat and just rest. Some will even applaud your efforts if you constantly work and resist "idle resting when there is more to be done." This is especially true in church leadership. You work for God...how dare you lie down on the job. Well, God did. He took an entire day and rested from His labors and, while we all know that is true (everyone is familiar with the creation story!), few of us choose to live this way.
And that is why so few people are tender and completely even through and through. We become callous and proud of our accomplishments when the whole of our bodies and, more particularly, our souls are crying out for release. To be tough and rigid often indicates the self-preservation that takes place in the heat of life. But to rest is to become tender and even, offering God the opportunity to have His way with us and actually giving us a more pleasing presentation to others. Others who are hungry and needy. And who are learning from the example we are setting.
What example are you setting? When do you truly rest? Do you separate yourself from your work environment and allow time for your mind to be occupied with things that will tenderize you and "even you out"? Make time regularly to escape the heat and the pressure. Just rest.