I was working into all corners of my schedule. I would wake early to make copies on the way to class. I would spend hours hunting down the right articles or podcasts to use as texts for lessons. I assigned my students the task of calling me, spending time with me, teaching me something— which adds up when you teach 300 students! I would regularly lesson plan well after midnight. And I did this day in and day out, without any distinction of days. The rest would come after I finished grades at the end of the semester— I could handle that… right?
After a few years of this hectic schedule, I felt like I was serving my Master by sacrificing so much to lesson planning and time with my students. Not free to come over Saturday? Okay, let’s meet Sunday! But I was exhausted. And I was empty. I felt I had little to give to these precious students.
One day, a wise older friend who had spent his whole life as an American living in Asia spoke about Sabbath. It was the first time I realized devoted rest was not just an ancient concept. Now that I have studied about our Master Teacher’s idea of rest, I see that it is for all seasons and for all who are around you and that this leads to refreshment. His rest is a promise that even seems to resemble the peace of our Future Home.
When I speak to like-minded teachers now, I ask about their rest patterns. In my experience, most fellow followers of the Master have not set aside a regular period of time to devote to rest, refreshment, and recreation. In fact, novice teachers may look at me with a degree of incredulity as they are completely overwhelmed with their new responsibilities as teachers.
We seem to believe the lie that says: Keep working; to rest is lazy! I will be so bold as to say this is akin to idol-worship. A bit more gently, a psalmist tells us, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives His beloved sleep.”
I personally believe taking this time to put a halt on all work is the greatest act of trust I can make. Like the Israelites of old, collecting enough manna prior to Sabbath, I am confessing, “I trust you. I have done my best, and now I hand over to you this period which I will believe is not a waste of time.” It has brought life back to me and my family, and I hope it will be a practice that will refresh the souls of all hardworking teachers trusting in Him.