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There is this old story that I have heard lots of times about an afternoon when Jesus popped in to see his mates; a fella called Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha.

I’m not totally sure, but I am pretty certain Jesus had popped in to see them before, and had sat around their front room laughing at Lazarus’ bodged attempts at carpentry and chatting about the new uniforms the Roman soldiers were wearing; “yes, they do look a little like skirts if you ask me…”

This time was a little different though. Since his last trip, Jesus had gone viral. News about him had spread throughout the country and he had turned into a bit of a celebrity. Not your overnight, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow kinda thing, bigger than that. A celebrity that caused whole towns and villages to shut down for the day when he visited so that people could try and catch a glimpse.

Think Jay-Z and Beyonce in Havana.

So, Mary decides the best thing to do is to sit and chat with Jesus, to find out what he had been up to, ask him about being a celebrity and see if he would share the secret to making wine out of water.

Her sister, Martha, on the other hand goes into hostess overdrive. She dusts off the fine china, whips up a fancy french beef dish and is in the middle of preparing some anti-pasti platters when it hits her that she has been left flying solo by her sister.

She flips out, storms into the front room and demands that Jesus command Mary to “jolly well get her sorry behind in the kitchen pronto” (or words to that effect).

Jesus smiles in his gentle way and points out that as much as he appreciates all the effort, perhaps Mary has chosen the better option, to shun the frantic food fuss and to sit restfully spending time with God.

Whenever I hear this story, the person telling it will usually point out that this event serves as a reminder to us that we should be less busy and more interested in being a monk and just praying. Or something like that. “That’s fine I suppose”, I think to myself, “but at some point you have to eat, and life has to carry on, and you can’t just sit chatting to Jesus the whole time”.

Near the start of the Bible there is list of the big 10 commandments. You’ve probably heard of it even if you are not a churchy type person. It contains ten nuggets of wise-law from God for his people to follow. If they succeed in following these big 10, they will simultaneously please God and be a blessing to people all around them.

“Do Not Murder”. See, if you don’t murder people, God will be happy with you and so will the people that you haven’t killed.

Number 4 in that list though is an odd one.

“Take a day off”

Wow! Are you kidding me? God gets to say ten things to the people of earth and he ‘wastes’ one of those things on “put your feet up”?!

Hold on a second though. How appealing does that ‘commandment’ feel to you right now? How much would you love it if your boss said “take a day off, full pay, you deserve it”. Or your kids saying, “You know what, take off for the day and sleep, we work you way too hard”.

God, in his wisdom knew that there was a fair chance that most of us would arrive at a point in our lives where we are fried. Exhausted. Tired, stressed, over-busy and in need of a break. So, he suggested that in order to keep your sanity, please God, and keep in good relationship with those around you, developing some kind of rhythm of rest might be a good thing.

What works for you? A foot massage? A Football match? A meal with mates? A dark room and some whale music?!

Whatever it is…DO IT! You need it. Cos life does carry on, and the food does need to be made, and the shopping does need to get done…but amidst it all, it is possible to find rest, peace and stillness. Not only is it possible, it is probably a life-saver at some point.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.