NBA players make a lot of money and many people ask why they earn so much. Simply put…fans pay hefty prices for tickets and rack up exorbitant amounts of time watching games and commercials on TV.

When we buy our tickets to a specific game, or watch at home because one of the top players is playing, we expect him to suit up, compete, and not be a bench warmer. 

With that said, however, there is an ongoing debate about coaches giving top players the night off once in awhile – especially during long road trips.

We all know that LeBron James loves to play basketball, his team depends on him, and fans want to watch him on the court instead of cheering from the sidelines.

But LeBron has led his team to six NBA Finals in a row and this season is leading the league in minutes played per game. Because he plays so hard and carries his team night after night, his coach understands his need for rest and is willing to sit him out of certain games.

When that happens, however, the media and fans throw a temper tantrum. There are comments made such as, “He’s the best player, he better play,” or “We’ve paid big money for these tickets….he needs to play, not rest!”

I certainly understand the fan’s perspective, but I also understand the importance of athletes taking care of themselves and not burning themselves out. The NBA regular season is long, and the playoffs last for a couple of months on top of that, so guys like LeBron must be wise and pace themselves.

Although rest and taking breaks seems to be frowned upon more and more often in sports and life, an NBA player needs to be physically strong to take on the rigours of his sport and get re-energized to perform well. Likewise, we must do the same mentally, emotionally, and even physically, if we want to remain healthy and function at our best.

We live in a culture that requires being full-throttle and completely engaged all the time. We never stop or even slow down because we must keep going to keep up with everything. We work longer hours and more days without pausing to catch our breath – all the while trying to cram as much in as possible.

Most of us want to take a break or work less, but we feel guilty or fearful when we do. We end up pushing each other to work even more, and view any slowing down as a weakness.

But as followers of Jesus, we should have a different perspective on rest and slowing down. Jesus gives us a great example of what it looks like to pull away from the craziness of life (and even ministry) after feeding the 5,000.

Mark 6:30-32 (NLT) tells us, “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told Him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.”

If Jesus needed to rest awhile, I know we do too. Let’s stop buying the lies that we have to go-go-go every minute of every day. Today, let’s decide to slow down, re-energize, spend time with God, cherish our loved ones, and enjoy the many blessings we have all around us. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive me for getting so caught up in busyness. I pray that I would recognize the need for stillness and serenity. Please give me the strength to take a break, and trust that You will work in me as I rest and regroup. I pray that I would find my deepest rest in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.