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  • Shawn Thornton

Lazy Days of Summer

Monday - July 27th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Genesis 2:1-3

Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 6:5-18

Then Jesus said, "Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile."

Mark 6:31 NLT

Regina Keller gets visited often by black bears. They show up on her property regularly. She has been taking pictures of the wildlife in her backyard for 12 years. Little creatures and large creatures roam through her remote backyard that is adjacent to the George Washington National Forest in Fort Valley, Virginia. This week's black bear visitor provided Regina the most joy of all the bears that have wandered onto her property.

On July 19, she was watering her flowers when a large male bear walked into her yard. "This was the biggest one I've seen this year," Keller told CNN.

She realized she had seen the bear before, but not in a little over two years. The bear had definitely grown over those years and seemed more in command as he walked her property this time. "He wandered around the backyard... and went over by the kiddie pool and dipped his big paw in the water... and then climbed right in and laid down. He seemed so content and refreshed."

Regina said she had moved to a chair on her porch (near the door of her house) just to observe him. The bear stayed in the pool, relaxing and napping for about an hour. The sound of her grandchildren arriving at her home with their dogs chased off the bear—his time enjoying the lazy days of summer in her kiddie pool ended.

CLICK HERE to watch a short video of the bear relaxing in the little pool.

The bear's pictures and video really depict a black bear looking for a little break and a perfect spot to relax. When the heat and humidity are extremely high in the summer, our culture has referenced those days as the lazy days of summer. In states on the East Coast like Virginia, late July and early August represent those days. Days that are so hot and sticky, it is hard to get any work done. People simply want to relax by the pool and nap in a hammock.

While the word "lazy" implies a lot of negative stuff, people genuinely feel physical and mental exhaustion with all of that heat. Even in his "laziness," the bear in the kiddie pool seemed to understand his own need to rest. That is something many of us humans don't really get. In our modern world, we push ourselves to achieve and do more to the point that we become inefficient and ineffective in our work and personal lives. Ambitious people in a driven culture tend to see rest and relaxation as weaknesses. That viewpoint damages so many people, marriages, families, and organizations.

God built into all of creation a rhythm of rest. As the record of His act of creating everything came to an end, God rested. After six days of making the universe and all that is in it, He took a seventh day to slow down and take in all He had made. God then instructed human beings to value rest. He wired us to need rest. Our bodies require 6-8 hours of sleep each day to be revitalized for a new day.

God would also command His children to take one day a week to rest and to stand back and focus on the Creator of everything. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Even if we do not see the need, God knows we need to take breaks in our day, get good sleep at night, have a day in the week to reset, and regular times away from the pace of our daily lives. The Scriptures contain various expressions and examples of rest. Jesus Himself told His disciples to rest on several occasions.

Our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being depends on proper rest and relaxation. Are you taking breaks, getting enough sleep, finding a regular day of rest? If you aren't, your health will be compromised, and your effectiveness in seeking to live and love like Jesus will be diminished.

Embrace God's design for rest in your life. It will improve your health and your witness for Christ!

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