In reply to my last post, A Life Oriented to Leisure is Death, Hannah asked a marvelous question. She wrote, “What would you say is the difference between leisure and rest?” I asked the Lord and He immediately said, “Effort!” What a strange reply. How could leisure be effort? Well, I am glad you asked.
When I juiced off my finger, I was a witness to a remarkable phenomenon—“life” is relentlessly determined to live. (Please go read the story if you haven’t, it’s amazing.) My observation was that our bodies strive to live, even when parts are chopped off. My severed finger, given all support to live, did exactly that. It’s the miracle of life!
Rest vs. Leisure
How does this relate to rest and leisure? The reason leisure is effort is because we have to purposely fight against Life’s flow to cease living. Leisure is simply cutting off the natural flow of actual Life and living. It’s entropy, which goes against our natural order. I literally have to work to enter into leisure and retirement. It’s a choice for slow suicide.
Rest, on the other hand, is surrendering to the Life of Christ. I can be fully active and be in Rest. Rest is Christ’s Life. Rest is Sabbath, which has always been our intended state. We were designed for Rest, not leisure.
Our Creator’s call has always been to Rest. The Jewish Sabbath was just a shadow of the reality—living in utter dependence continually to the Life of Christ. So where leisure may look like inactivity, the reality is that it’s an active fight against the Life flow of Christ. It’s a rebellion against God, preferring death to Life. Leisure is relinquishment, a resigning from Life.
Christ’s Life is ease from effort, not freedom from living. Leisure is the effort to resist Christ’s very Life. This doesn’t equate to always being active because Christ is often very still in us. He does lead us to green pastures and beside the still waters. What He doesn’t do is give us liberty from His Life without penalty.
Dwelling in Rest is the choice to live in the continual state of Christ’s very Life. It is eternal! Leisure is a selfish choice to retire from responsibility, leading into the downward spiral of death. Leisure is as temporal as this present moment and only serves ME.
Here is the immediate tragedy of preferring leisure to Life: we miss the adventure of Christ’s Life lived in and through us. It’s not about activity; it is about awareness and enjoyment of Christ!