There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV)
We all need a Sabbath. No, I am not talking about a day to just go to church, though I highly recommend it. I am talking about a day of rest, a day to relax. It may not even be a Sunday as the Sabbath is often understood to be. All too often the idea of Sabbath is overlooked, forgotten, or misunderstood. Whatever our understanding about the Sabbath is, God made His point pretty clear in the Ten Commandments:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 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…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
As my friend the Rabbi Jamie Korngold, aka the Adventure Rabbi, is fond of pointing out, this
commandment is number one the list of ten; coming before the prohibitions against the more commonly thought of “serious” offenses such as murder and adultery. Was God trying to get His point across by putting it so high on the list? Or did God know something about the importance of Sabbath we often neglect? Our fast paced lives, digital media overload, and desire to get ahead make it seemingly impossible to ever get the rest and refreshment we so desperately need.
The commandment also says the Sabbath is holy; that is, set apart. Whatever day we choose for our Sabbath needs to be unlike any other day. It needs to be set apart for its intended purpose. We don’t need to merely sit around and nap all day on our Sabbath but whatever it is we choose to do, it should be entirely different than what we do the rest of the week. Our activity should bring us peace, relaxation, renewal, and change of pace. Your Sabbath should be your own mini personal retreat.
The truth is we can work ourselves to death (and many, sadly, literally do) but to what end? The writer of Ecclesiastes seemed to understand this premise when he wrote, “All the streams flow to the sea, yet the sea is never full” (Ecclesiastes. 1:7). The idea here being we will never truly get ahead in life for as soon as we reach where we want to be, a new priority will just take its place. We are better off slowing down and enjoying what we have and with what we’ve been blessed.
Don’t let life pass you by without taking time to enjoy it and spending time with those you love. Take time to recharge your batteries and be thankful for what you have. Take a day a week and don’t worry about your Twitter timeline or Facebook status. Stop whatever it is you are doing one day a week and rest. Take time to slow down, reflect, and give thanks for that with which you have been blessed. It might be on your deck, sitting on the beach, working in your garden, standing knee deep in a trout stream, or time spent walking through the woods. Whatever “rest” looks like to you, do it. Leave the chaos and worries of the world behind. You will be back there soon enough.