“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep 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 the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
Are you weary?
God has a remedy for your weariness, and a plan to ensure that you get the rest you need. It’s simple and cost-effective. He has built a weekly day of rest into your calendar. Call it what you will – the Lord’s Day, or the Christian sabbath, or Sunday – it is the day God has given for you to enjoy the rest you need. Fight to guard it. Don’t let the world steal this day from you. Don’t – through negligence – deprive yourself of your rest.
The Lord is your example – six days of labor followed by a day of rest. You are his renewed image bearer. Complete your work in six days, and rest on one day.
But resting on Sundays won’t happen without forethought. You must plan to rest, or you’ll find yourself spending the day like any other.
Many of us are exhausted – always tired, and never rested. We struggle to remember the last time we were truly relaxed and refreshed. It’s not just work that tires us; it’s also our play. We seem bent on packing as much activity into our calendars as we can.
Team sports is one example of how a beneficial recreation can work against our physical and spiritual best interests. For much of my life, I played competitive sports, and still enjoy hitting the gym and running. The advantages that sports and exercise confer are many: health, discipline, leadership training for the young, and together time for families.
But like any beneficial thing, we can get too much. For some families, sports programs for kids and adults dominate schedules. Sporting events fill afternoons and evenings on weekdays, as well as much of Saturday and, increasingly, Sunday. This kind of hectic pace exhausts frail people. Meals on the run begin to replace the family dinner table, the gathering place where we cultivate habits of conversation. Homework is done hastily. Late bedtimes become the norm. Tired and cranky children make life difficult for teachers. Opportunities for families to do house and yard work together become rare, leaving many young people without the invaluable routine of working together as a family. The week concludes, Sunday arrives, and it’s no different from any other day. We reduce the Lord’s day to the Lord’s hour, and spend the rest of the day catching up on what we didn’t get done the rest of the week. No surprise, we begin the week tired, stressed, and burned-out. Not only have we forfeited the rest we need, our weariness can lead us to rob the Lord of undistracted worship.
Often we think that the remedy for our weariness is weekends away. We need a vacation! So we travel on the weekend to get away. The result? We return to work exhausted on Monday.
Sundays have a way of exposing our idols. If we can’t put our ordinary recreations aside, then they mean too much to us. They hold a place in our life they shouldn’t. If we can’t lay aside our business for a single day, then do we really believe that God is always working for us?
On the Lord’s day we rest physically and we rest spiritually, trusting that the Lord “who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4).
Sabbath keeping involves planning. Plan to complete your work in six days. Clear your Sunday schedule of work and formal recreations. One of the side benefits will be a more efficient six days of work.
Dads, plan to help your wives with the children. Strive to make her Sunday restful, too.
Get the rest you need.