Rest is not a concept on friendly terms with the current culture. Rest is something you do at the end of a very long day, when you’re so tired or so drugged you can’t do anything else — and even then we don’t call it rest; we call it sleep. Rest conjures up impossible images of a stress-free snapshot in time, perhaps with warm air, shade, and a cool drink. In our anxiety-laced culture we forget that we were made to rest. In our productivity-driven culture we forget that even God Himself took time to rest and it didn’t, somehow, negatively affect His schedule, performance, evaluations, or end product. In our shortsightedness we think rest is outdated and forget that rest is timeless.
The Bible talks about rest from Genesis to Revelation; the concept saturates Scripture. One of the most-loved passages of all time is a short treatise on this very subject; though written thousands of years ago, describing an agrarian culture and profession few people practice today, Psalm 23 still resonates because people haven’t fundamentally changed. Some of you can probably recite it from memory. If so, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and do so. For the rest of us, I’m providing it here for you to read and contemplate:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in right paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God’s way is not a whirlwind of craziness; it is sufficient and restful. It is quiet and refreshing. It is supporting and comforting. God’s way is not enamored with the latest and newest; it is ancient and eternal. Regardless of where technology takes our culture, we need to learn God’s way and adhere to it. We need to surrender our fears and compulsions to God, not join them to technology in a futile attempt to outrun them. Even with technology we can’t run fast enough to outpace our fears and compulsions; we can only make them stronger.
It is not possible to do two things at once, no matter how hard we try. The harder we try, the more stress we introduce into our lives and the less rest and peace we experience. God, in Psalm 46:10, says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” He invites us to quiet ourselves and contemplate Him. He asks us to mono-task, not multi-task, in order to know Him better. This is hard to do; it requires turning down the volume of our lives and calming our frenetic thoughts and activity. It means turning our attention to one thing instead of many.
Choosing quiet means saying no to technology distractions. It means finding a time each day, whenever possible, to intentionally choose to be fully present with God. No cell phone calls, no text bells, no email beeps. No game noise, no television clamor, no internet banners. Just you, still and quiet, giving God your undivided attention. Did you know you have His? Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”
The above is excerpted from chapter 12 in #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking by Dr. Gregory Jantz.