Rest and The Production Paradox:
My dad always told me growing up that working harder and longer does not always translate into getting better results. This was advice coming from a man that works very hard and puts in long hours. Yet, he always emphasized the importance of working smarter to get a better return for your work.
Yes, the Bible emphasizes that we should work hard and not be lazy. Colossians 3:23 tells us “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Keeping this in mind, the Bible tells us to work smart as well, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). The idea here is that two people working together as a team are better than two individuals working independently. Jesus employed this principle when he sent His disciples out “two-by-two.”
All being said, there is often a missing element in many of our frenetic, fast-paced and fragmented lives. Many people either won’t or don’t know how to take a Sabbath rest. The fact is many people refuse or don’t know how to take a rest period. I wonder how much mental fatigue and physical illnesses people struggle with could be mitigated by making sure they get both the proper amount of physical and mental rest. I wonder if we would be more effective in all areas of our lives if we were able to refresh and recoup rather than consistently living above a healthy threshold.
Recently, France passed a law barring work email outside of working hours. Believe it or not, small businesses in France are generally more productive than small businesses in the U.S. in the afternoon. Why? The French know they need to take a physical and mental break from their jobs so they can refresh and go back and finish their workday unfatigued. As a result, when they work in the afternoon they are “all in.” As such, they are able to maintain greater energy and focus because they are better rested.
I wonder if we chose to honor the pattern of rest, as the Scripture outlines, if we wouldn’t find ourselves more effective and engaged when we work. I wonder if we wouldn’t have the energy and excitement to be “all there” when we are spending time with our loved ones. Perhaps we would experience greater intrapersonal health and continuity because our soul has a chance renew and recover from the fragmentation and toxicity our media and information saturated lives often produces. Work harder, work longer to be more productive? Much of the data suggests you’re working smarter and being more productive in all areas of your life when you’re better rested.
A Prayer for Quiet Confidence:
O God of peace, who has taught us in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength; By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, p. 832)
 “New French Law Bars Work Email After Hours | Fortune.Com,” accessed June 13, 2017, http://fortune.com/2017/01/01/french-right-to-disconnect-law/.
 Gene Marks, “Why the French Are More Productive Than Americans,” Huffington Post, May 1, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-marks/why-the-french-are-more-productive_b_7179390.html.