To be strong and to get stronger, an athlete trains. The runner runs often and long. The weight lifter lifts increasingly heavier loads. This hard exercise is important but it can be overdone. In any physical exercise muscle is strained and actually torn down. The body needs a resting time to rebuild that strained and torn muscle. Resting and taking time off is key to building strength. All athletes will periodically take a day off from training. If they do not, they risk weakening their muscles by never giving them a chance to repair and strengthen.
Like athletes, Christians also train. We are called to persevere in bearing one another’s burdens and loving one another. But like the over-trained athlete, we can overdo it. God does not as us to carry our burdens all alone or all the time. God bids us to rest and let God carry our burdens so that we do not become spiritually worn out. Daily we need to rest in God and commit all to God’s care.
This message is based on a devotion, “Evening,” written by Jeanette B. Strandjord that appeared in Programs, Retreats and Devotions 2 published by Women of the ELCA in 1996.