Lutheran Church Extension Fund

The "Yeast" You Can Do for Yourself? Rest!

My Grandma Schuldt, born 1882, lived 1,600 miles away. When she visited, her four grandsons wanted one thing: home baked bread! Her bread was so good that spreading it with sweet creamery butter, well, kind of ruined it. “Please make us some bread, Grandma!” So good!

I haven’t had a bite since about 1966, but I can still smell it. A few days into her visit, we’d find her one morning in the kitchen mixing up a batch. “Grandma’s bread for lunch! Hooray!”

She’d sift and measure and mix and knead and then, everything came to a halt. “Bake it, Grandma! Put it in the oven!”

Nope. “Just give it a rest, boys.” Fresh baked bread for dinner, not for lunch. Let it rest.

Good advice. The dough, (a bit worn out from the mixing and kneading), goes into a bowl, gets covered in a little blanket, set in a warm spot, and rests. The yeast does its work. Then, when it’s ready, it gets baked.


Rest is a church worker’s “secret weapon” some say. I agree.

God designed us that way. We work in cycles of seasons and years, of sun and moon. We were designed with a need for rest. The Creator and his Son both modeled the importance of the rest break, the time for recovery and renewal.

Ministry is hard. You get sifted and kneaded every day. If you’re like me, you’re tempted to work longer and longer hours, pushing through on a minimum of rest.

After years of neglect of the rest I needed, it eventually caught up with me.

If I had paid attention, I’d have noticed sooner that it caught up with me almost daily.

Staring at an unfinished sermon without a creative thought in my brain, or fighting off drowsy eyelids during a home visit could have been clues that I needed rest. Falling asleep in my quiet time with God, I should have listened to Grandma Schuldt.

“Give it a rest.” Tucked in. Cozy blanket. Warm spot.

Let the yeast do its renewing work.

Overfunctioning is serving beyond your capacity for service. It’s basically a faithless posture. Pushing beyond your limits is a subtle way of expressing that you don’t believe that God can do his work without you, or that the body of Christ is incapable of stepping up to their roles in service.

Laying in bed, closing your eyes, checking out and drifting to sleep is an act of faith. Just as we all will close our eyes one day and commend ourselves to the Lord one last time, sleep is a rehearsal for that glorious day.

Since hitting middle age with a crash, I’ve worked hard at rest.

I never want to hear my grandchildren say, “Shhhh. Grandpa’s sleeping on the couch.”

I want to be at my best when the opportunity to live and love and serve comes along. Rest is my secret weapon.

There are times when duty calls us to put in long, tiring hours. Adequate rest builds the reserve for that duty.

Get some sleep. “Give it a rest” my Grandma would say.

It’s the yeast you can do for yourself.

Thanks for reading.