And on the seventh day, God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done…for about 20 minutes and then he looked over his to-do list and added a couple more things. And then he checked his emails, just in case something important came up that he had to deal with right away. And then he checked his schedule to see when his next available opening was for a coffee get together. And then he decided to brainstorm ideas on how to get more people to engage with him. And then…and then…and then…
That sounds pretty ridiculous, right? We know from Genesis 2:2-3 that, “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” God had just finished creating the world and all that is in it, and instead of obsessing over ways to improve it or how he could get more engagement, he rested. Now, if God took time to rest don’t you think that as Christ-followers we should take a cue from our Heavenly Father and rest as well?
When I take time to be still and to dwell on nothing other than the enormity of the moments God has given me, I can enter into a state of divine renewal. And oh how desperately I need to be renewed and restored by the end of the week.
“If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything.” – Eugene H. Peterson
The world is full of great ideas on how to unwind and slow down, but it always seems to come at a cost. We document every second of our self-imposed “Day of Rest” so that way everyone can see how “relaxed” we are, or we choose to rest in the quietness of an unhurried life and are left being labelled as lazy and selfish. In either case, the root of it all is that as humans we crave attention, to be seen and understood, wanted and loved. But if all we do is chase after the attention of others, we’ll burn out before we ever get an ounce of the acceptance we so desperately desire. We need to rest in something other than our humanity, plain and simple.
Somewhere along the way, our world became obsessed with this idea that we have to be in constant motion. That if we’re not moving and creating and doing, we’re not becoming the best version of ourselves. But we’re not sharks; if we stop moving, we’re not going to die. In fact, the opposite is true; if we never stop moving, we’re going to run ourselves into the ground. Taking time to rest isn’t something that should be frowned upon, and we shouldn’t be throwing side glances at people who intentionally take time out of the week to rest in God’s presence.
Practicing the Sabbath doesn’t make us lazy or selfish, it allows for us to develop the ability to rest deeply in God, and to receive a renewed and refreshed spirit from him. We need to intentionally put aside a day to do nothing else other than dwell in the presence of the Lord and in the beauty of the day he’s given us. Take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the world, and turn aside to the stillness and restoration found in his presence.
Taking a Sabbath day has become somewhat of an anomaly in our world and our churches, but it is a spiritual practice we desperately need to revive. I need to rest as much as the next person, and only when I rest in the Lord do I find myself truly refreshed and ready to face the coming week. Your day of rest doesn’t have to be a Sunday; it could be a Wednesday or a Friday. What matters is that you intentionally take time to unplug, unwind, and understand the depth of your relationship with God. Then and only then are we ready to continue our kingdom work. Rest well my friends, and watch what the Lord will do in your lives.