Life's Crucial Rhythm

In his book, It’s Your Call, Gary Barkalow shares the description a Boeing 757 airline pilot gave of a critical step the pilot always had to take between flights if he did not want to jeopardize his plane’s ability to fly accurately on its next flight. Between flights his Boeing 757 needed to sit motionless for at least ten minutes so its computer could reestablish true north. The navigational computer had to clear the maps and coordinates of the previous flight in order to recalibrate to the geographical North Pole. Failure to pause for that length of time would cause the plane’s orientation to be dangerously inaccurate.1

One of the dangers inherent in living life at the pace called for in our hectic culture, is that we will fail to stop from time to time to recalibrate to True North in our lives. In the process we exhaust our supply of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy. In the process we may even find ourselves wandering off course away from True North.

God in His ultimate wisdom knows that humans need periodic recalibration times—times of quiet and rest intended to allow us to focus, not on being the fastest rat in the rat race, but on winning at what really matters in life—relationships with Him, family, and others. In light of that, God has built into life a crucial rhythm. A friend of mine, the late Otis Brady, described that crucial rhythm as “the rhythm of work, rest, and worship.”

Notice this important truth. Two out of those three disciplines—rest and worship - are intended by God to help us to recalibrate to True North in life. Rest is intended to help us recalibrate our bodies. God thought so highly of the need for rest that He instituted the concept of the Sabbath—giving one’s body a break from work every seven days. God thought so highly of the importance of rest for humans that He built it into the rhythm of creation. Genesis 2:2 (NASB) says, “And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all the work which He had done.” The Sabbath is not just intended to give an opportunity to re-energize our bodies, but also to slow us down so we can focus on God and other meaningful relationships.

As for worship, whether it be the collective worship one experiences at the end or beginning of the week or it is the personal worship one experiences in his easy chair, the rhythm of worship is intended to help us recalibrate our spiritual lives to True North—to God Himself. Worship is intended to make sure that the rat race doesn’t become our god. Jesus understood the dangers inherent in the lure of the rat race when He said in Matthew 6:19-21 (NASB), “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Work, rest, and worship—a rhythm to life which is extremely vital. After all, life’s True North is at stake.

1 It’s Your Call, Gary Barkalow, 2010, p.54

Jerry Long

Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He may be reached at