I used to work in a rather high-pressure environment as a senior underwriter for a large insurance company. My boss used to say to me that the job was simple; all we had to do was make a hundred decisions per day each of which simply had to be exactly correct. He would come around at 10 am and again at 3 pm to make sure that we were taking our breaks because the company had found out that the best decisions are made when the underwriter feels refreshed and not fatigued. I had some friends in the life insurance department that would take regular 15 minute naps at their desk – as prescribed by their bosses. Some of the worst decisions that were made in the department came not because of a lack of information or experience, but because of weariness and stress.
How does weariness factor into what you do? What is your level of
As a parent, I am at my best when I’m relaxed and rested. But let’s
be frank, how many times, as parents, do we feel that level of serenity?
Parenting, by and large, happens in the midst of anxieties of the day and
sometimes on too little sleep. I saw a parent get angry at a young child at a
store the other day. The Mom looked really tired and worn out. I don’t think
she’s a bad person, or a terrible parent, she was simply fatigued and thus was
making poor decisions.
I often wonder, when looking at creation, if God was weary when he
created the avocado pit, the Carrion flower that smells like death, or the
Aye-aye (look it up, it’s an ugly and strange creature). In the book of Exodus,
we are told that the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he
rested and was refreshed. (Ex 31:17) Creating heaven and earth must have been a
lot of work and stress. No wonder God needed rest and refreshment. Jesus sent
out the twelve to heal and proclaim. When they returned, the Gospel of Mark
says, “there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and the twelve did not even have a chance to eat.
Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.’
They left in a boat for a place where they could be alone.” (Mk 6:31-32) The
Lord knew the importance of rest and taught it to his
If Jesus, who we believe is both human and divine, took the time to
combat fatigue, what instruction can we take from that about finding rest and
I took this weekend off. A great gift was given to me by Fathers
Tolley and Stott. Four weeks ago they approached me in the vesting sacristy (the
place where we robe-up for service). Fr. Stott said that he’d like to preach on
Memorial Day. Fr. Tolley jumped in and said, “Well, if Al is preaching, then I’d
like to celebrate.” And nearly in unison, they both said, “And you can take the
weekend off.” And I did! And it was good! It is such a comfort and blessing to have those two beautiful, faithful, and thoughtful men watching over and caring for me and my family.
The Letter to the Hebrews says that a Sabbath rest remains for
God’s people and the person who has entered God’s rest has rested from his own
works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that
rest, so that no one will fall into a pattern of disobedience. (Heb 4:9-11) Just
like my old boss used to enforce, we need to take breaks, or get rest, so that
we can continue in a pattern of good decisions. May you find time today to take
a rest from your labors and find a Sabbath rest, just as God did.
Many blessings to you this day,
- Fr. Marshall