Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.
Rest is great. God tells us to rest. How much more permission does one need to put away the work and just rest? After he finished creating the universe, God rested, and he’s God. Although he did not need to rest, being the God of the universe, he was so satisfied with his creation that on the seventh day, he rested.
It raises the question in my mind why I always feel tired after a long day of work, and by the time I get to the end of the working week, I’m exhausted. And I can assure you I’m not doing any back breaking labors like so many hard-working people do.
I think the answer to this question, in a simple sense, is we get tired because we are human. In another sense it is because we are human that we don’t know how to efficiently rest. There are hundreds, if not thousands of books being written as we speak on how to work more effectively; how to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of the 1440-minute day. I don’t see many books written on how to rest.
Partly cultural, I’m sure; the pressure to perform and not look lazy. There’s always a million things to do at work; then a thousand things to do with the family and socially; then a hundred things to do with the church. I know I am constantly caught justifying family and social and ministering at church as ‘rest’ time, when in reality they are just as much work as the business place. Everyone is different; what is refreshing and revitalizing to one individual will be different from the next.
In Deuteronomy, Moses is giving a long list of commands and instructions to the nation of Israel of what they need to do to stay right with God. Thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ dying on the cross in our place, we don’t need to follow the letter of the commands and instructions to stay right with God, but that doesn’t mean they make some mighty good suggestions, seeing as they are from the all mighty God.
For me, ultimate rest is having nothing scheduled on my to-do list, and subsequently sitting down with a book, a movie or lying down and having a rest. But is this the best kind of rest I can have? Am I just seeking a replacement for the rest that can be found in bible reading and prayer?
Where do you find rest? And where is your life so busy that you don’t have time for God?