Work and Rest

by Ken Barnes


And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!” And when the Ark was set down, he would say, “Return, O Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel!”
(Numbers 10:35-36 NLT)

In this portion of Scripture, the Lord sets a pattern for us to follow—a design that allows us to accomplish the things we need to do, but replenishes us with the strength to continue to achieve those things. It is a balance between doing and being.

When the Ark of the Lord moved, so did the people, and God’s enemies were scattered. Israel saw great victories. When the Ark came to rest, so did the people. Moses implored the Lord to come back to the people as he realized the presence of the Lord among them was the source their strength. The time spent waiting in the Lord’s presence was not wasted time but necessary for future victories.

The Lord lead his people to have a balance between doing exploits for him and being in his presence. An imbalance between doing and being is always problematic. All work and no rest leads to burnout. Inactivity without passion and vision brings about lethargy and spiritual stagnation. For some Christians it is easier to move than to remain still. Without stillness in God’s presence, we will eventually lose the strength to move. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Someone once said, “If your output exceeds your input, your upkeep will be your downfall.” The key to keeping your life in balance is obedience. Moses had a simple leadership strategy. When the cloud moved or came to rest, so did he.

Ken Barnes is the author of The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places: The Joy of Serving God in the Ordinary, available in paperback and e-book formats. You can visit Ken’s blog at

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