“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” – Genesis 2:2-3
Howard-John Wesley, Senior Pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, announced that he would be stepping away from the pulpit and relinquishing all leadership responsibilities for a brief season. In a sermon preached on December 1, Rev. Wesley revealed that his soul is tired and that he feels far from God.
“I’m tired. And I’m tired in a way that one night of sleep ain’t gon’ fix. I’m tired in my soul,” Wesley preached. “You can’t pour out of an empty cup. It is very dangerous for your pastor to be on empty. I need to take care of me. From January 1 to April 1. I am walking away from every responsibility I have as pastor.”
Pastor Wesley’s sermon was entitled “Selah” and focused on the biblical imperative of rest. He mentioned that although today’s culture views busyness as a litmus test of value and worth, it does not necessarily honor God.
“The enemy in an attempt to block your holiness wants to remove rest from your life and push you back into slavery. And here is the greatest deception of the devil—to convince you that the busier you are the more important you are,” Wesley exclaimed.
“That if you’re working yourself to the bone somehow you are glorifying God. And God says you are not being holy if you don’t know how to rest.”
According to Theology of Work, “After six days of creation, God looks upon the works of his hands and pronounces it “very good” (Gen 1:31). But it is not until the seventh day that God calls [it] ‘holy.’ The day of rest receives the attribution of holiness, which is the very essence of God’s character.”
Genesis 2:2-3 captures the moment that God rested from all of creation, but not because he was physically or mentally exhausted. Rather, “God rests so his people can partake in his refreshment. Moreover, his rest from work fosters his relationship with his people.”
Mark 2:27 says “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” It was never meant to be a burden for the followers of Christ. Instead, it was instituted to help God’s people enjoy their relationship with the Creator and their future enteral rest.
Don’t let mundane busyness for Christ keep you from experiencing His holiness and presence.