Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Monday, February 17

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30

The Gift of Rest

Athletes and coaches want to excel and be the best. Sometimes it’s difficult to balance the desire for great performance with the need for proper rest.

If we watch birds as well as animals, then we see how God designed a balance between times of activity and times of refreshing. Birds fly several miles a day but they have to stop. After a few hours, they find a spot to land. We see them on tree limbs, on roofs of buildings and also walking on the ground. Horses run across the pasture daily but they stop for water and grazing on the green grass. If a rider overworks a horse, then even the strongest horses collapse with exhaustion. A horse needs to stop and eat an apple or a carrot and get refreshed after a long ride.

Weightlifting, film study and practice is important and necessary, but rest is also needed for happiness and a long life. Jesus labored much and used His time wisely. “As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). When Moses was overworked, his father-in-law, Jethro, told him to divide up the work with others. “Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone” (Exodus 18:17-18). Moses listened and everything was better.

The Apostle Paul traveled to many places to tell people about Jesus. Though Paul wanted to be everywhere and didn’t want to take time to sleep, he learned to seek God’s guidance daily about where to go and what to do. “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (Acts 16:7). None of Paul’s sufferings in the ministry discouraged him. “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). Since Paul needed rest and couldn’t be everywhere, he trained others to be preachers and missionaries, and he did a lot of writing of Scripture. Therefore, he multiplied his efforts.

When Jesus calls us, He wants to wash away our sin, but He also wants us to learn to work without anxiety. Though we may think we can handle things ourselves, we need Jesus walking by our side all along the way. Jesus is the perfect guide since He is God. He wants to carry our burdens.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.

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