At the end of the year . . .
Maurice Roberts, writing on "The Christian's Refreshing" in his book of essays The Thought of God (Banner of Truth, p. 74-75), has the following counsel, which may prove a timely encouragement at the end of a long and laborious year:
There are times in the Christian's life when he must recognize and accept that he is in need of a thorough rest. Every faculty in the man of God is engaged in the spiritual warfare. It is therefore not surprising that every faculty becomes periodically exhausted. The body and mind become jaded and the spirit feels no longer able to rise up in hope. When God's servants have laboured and toiled for months together at the post of duty (whether the duty be secular or spiritual) and come to the point of chronic fatigue, they need not feel ashamed to obey the call of a tired constitution. They must unwind and relax. Life without proper relaxation loses its delight and becomes a drudgery. No man can give of his best when he is worn down and spent.
We are apt to think the work of God will collapse if we do not hold it up continually with all our might. But if we think that, we have forgotten who God is. The work of God existed and prospered on earth before we were born. It will also exist and prosper when we are dead and forgotten. Scarcely any greater affront could be offered to God than that odious sentiment of liberal theology which imagines that 'God has no other hands and feet than ours'. On the contrary, his 'chariots are twenty thousand' [Ps. 68:17]. Heaven and earth could more easily pass away than the church of Christ. Concerning the church, God says, 'I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day' [Isa. 27:3]. 'He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep' [Ps. 121:4].
The Lord Jesus Christ was not ashamed to be found asleep in the boat [Mark 4:38]. His people therefore do not need to feel ashamed when, after exhausting service, they too must yield their aching bodies to a period of necessary rest.