Stop and Enjoy Life

As “responsible” leaders and managers, we often place an excessive burden on ourselves to achieve and show a return on investment to those we serve.  For nearly all of us, there seems to be no shortage of effort, desire to prove our value or hit the mark.

This comes natural to most.  After all, God did “put him (Adam) in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

I love work as much as the next person, but, as the saying goes, “too much of a good thing can easily turn into a bad thing”.

A friend recently shared a verse in Deuteronomy that gave a new meaning to the idea of rest and the simple enjoyment of life.

This verse is about soldiers who are about to go off to war, but have unfinished business.

Deuteronomy 20: 5-7: The officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it?  Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it.  Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it?  Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may enjoy it.  Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her?  Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.”

In our modern culture we tend to pour our lives into something and then seldom take time to stop and enjoy what we’ve built.  As a result, we end up going off to yet another battle, to slay the proverbial dragon.

Worse, if you die due to an early heart attack or have limited physical health due to the stresses of overwork then others will enjoy the fruit of your work.

I have to learn how to rest and pace myself without feeling guilty.  Maybe you can relate.  We are so pre-programmed for work and achievement, that we have to intentionally stop to enjoy life.  We even take our computers and cell phones to the beach with us.  Intentionality around rest brings balance, it just doesn’t happen by itself.

In the world there are no shortages of “work, earn, hurry, that’s not enough, others are passing you by, keep up, work harder, you need to….you ought to….you should….”.

The world and the enemy wants us hyper-busy and, frankly, we need more voices that tell us to slow down and pace ourselves.

We act as though it is our work that builds the house, that it is our toil that makes the difference and it’s not.

Psalm 127 says, “Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vainIt is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil—for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.”

Taking time to stop and get away takes trust.  Trust that the business won’t flounder while we’re gone.  So, let’s seek God in this matter and ask Him to show us how to rest and enjoy life….and let’s pray to trust Him to take care of things while we’re away.  I believe He will. 🙂