Congratulations to the 3 winners of the I Like Giving books: Patty, Rachel S, and Creagon. I’ll be e-mailing you all soon. Thank you to everyone who entered! I wish I had more books to give away. Be sure to check out I Like Giving: The Transforming Power of a Generous Life
on Amazon or at your favorite local bookstore!
God apparently knew how much we would need rest. He designed our bodies to have a limit, almost an auto-off switch.
Weary eyelids sag with the need for sleep. Muscles hang limp from exhaustion. Brains fog and shut down.
God also apparently knew how much we would fight the need for rest. It seems to be ingrained in us from the minute we are born. Ever watched a baby fight and fight sleep, wiggling limbs, crying, moving nonstop as if knowing the second she stops moving she miss out on something important? Like maybe she won’t be the center of attention any longer?
It seems we often don’t outgrow that need to keep moving and going and going.
God didn’t just suggest rest. He commanded it.
It’s part of the Ten Commandments He gave Israel through Moses.
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, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.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.
I’m not very good at rest. Even when my body fails and forces me onto the couch with sinus headaches, a golf ball in my throat, and pressure in my ear that feels like it could burst, my brain won’t stop. I see the work piling up around me. Dirty floors. Dishes overflowing a sink. Homework papers that need signed and returned. Laundry overflowing baskets. It’s a mountain that never stops growing.
But a Sabbath day, a day of not working, isn’t a suggestion God put in a comment box for us to consider. It’s designed for us, to help us, and to bring us into relationship with Him.
Back in 2006, our pastor did a fantastic sermon series titled The Art of Rest. (Click that link and you can listen to the 4 sermons.) It’s a series I find myself needing to revisit over and over and over.
For many of us who grew up in church, the Sunday day of rest was burdensome. It was a list of rules and do’s and dont’s. It was anything but restful. The same could be said for the Jews in Jesus’ day. The Sabbath had become a long list of do’s and dont’s. In fact, the religious rulers of the day often tried to pin Jesus on this one. In one instance Jesus replied, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
The Sabbath was made for us. It’s a gift.
It’s permission to stop doing. It’s a chance to unplug and re-connect with God and those around us. I don’t have this figured out. But after this past week of being sick on the couch and feeling so miserable about all the things I didn’t get done, I know that I need to re-align myself. My worth isn’t found in what I do, but who I am becoming.
Am I becoming a person at rest? With God? With others? With myself?
How about you? Do you struggle with resting? How have you handled the Sabbath over the years?