Business is sometimes worn as a badge of pride. I don’t know if it has always been this way, but too many Americans are proud of being too busy – too busy for their marriage, too busy for their children, too busy for God. We rarely sit down to dinner with our families, rarely spend leisure time with friends, rarely go on a date-night with our spouse because we are just too busy. Sunday morning church – forget it.
Too busy doing what? – usually working. Working to pay more bills, have more stuff, keep up with the Jones. Work is a gift from God by which we are able to care for ourselves, but to work excessively when we do not need to is missing the point.
When God finished creating everything, He rested, not because He was tired, but as an example for us to follow. We need rest, and we need to get over the notion that more work will make us happier, make our families stronger or our marriages more fulfilling.
Jesus taught that the Sabbath day, the day of rest, is for our benefit. He said, “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” This was spoken in response to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who strictly enforced many rules about the Sabbath that were not biblical.
When Jesus and his disciples snacked on some standing grain and when Jesus healed a man’s shriveled hand on the Sabbath the establishment was irate. Snacking from the field and healing a shriveled hand constituted work, and work was not allowed on the Sabbath. Talk about missing the point!
These misguided religious leaders made keeping the Sabbath an onerous task that demanded a certain pattern of behavior that God never intended. Hence, Jesus corrected their wrong-headed rebuke by telling them that the Sabbath is for the benefit of people and not the other way around. Having a snack with friends and healing the sick are not Sabbath-breaking activities.
To the contrary, our day of rest should involve time with those we love and service to those in need. It is good to set aside time for worship, prayer, family involvement, service, a walk in the park, an afternoon nap, or a warm fire and a good book.
If you do not make time to rest, rest will make time for you. Lack of rest will work to deteriorate your health, your family, your marriage, and your relationship with God. You will have time to rest but it may be in a hospital bed or without the company of those you love.
While some may be spending too much time resting, there are many who need to remove the badge of busyness from their chests and purposely reconnect with friends and family and God. Determine right now to make this Sunday your day of rest. Turn off the cell phone and save the emails for Monday and say to yourself, “today is a day of rest.”