It was the Christmas season and one morning I was playing the nine o’clock coffee break on WJTL while my then three-year-old played quietly on the floor. Evie’s “Come on Ring Those Bells” began playing, her lovely voice singing: “Everybody likes to take a holiday; everybody likes to take a rest.” At the end of that last phrase, my son turned toward me with wide eyes and emphatically stated, “I don’t like to take a rest, Mommy!” He did not like daily “rest time”. My young son could not see the value of taking a break from the hard work of playing, exploring, and growing. There were too many exciting things to discover and he thought rest was just so boring. As his mom, I knew that resting made him both happier and healthier. It would also make it much easier for him to build his growing relationships with his buddies and with the world around him. It takes regular rest for a toddler to be able to return to the hard work of play.
Rest is something we read throughout the Bible when we see the term “Sabbath”. The Old Testament describes the Sabbath as a lasting covenant, an agreement between God and His people. It was first mentioned in Genesis, where after finishing the work of creation, God rested. (Genesis 2:2-3 NIV) We come upon Sabbath again in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11 NIV). But Sabbath isn’t merely adherence to a law, it’s a demonstrated attitude of submission before our Holy God. Mark tells us that Jesus taught the Sabbath was made for man. (Mark 2:27-28) God thought it important enough to make it a pact with us which is actually for our benefit. It’s His gift to us that we get to participate in, even today. By observing a Sabbath rest, we have the opportunity to take a break from our work, recharge our batteries, be spiritually refilled, and to honor God, acknowledging He is our provider.
As we grow, the wonder of childhood wanes and we become engrossed in responsibilities. The older we get, the more difficult it can be to plan for rest. There are too many things to get done. School assignments, participating in athletics, work pressures, keeping up with a home, providing for our families in a tough economy, and more. Like my little boy, we can balk at rest, thinking our work alone will provide for all we need. But remember, God demonstrated the importance of rest by taking a break from all His work of creation. His son Jesus, observed the Sabbath too, and used it to spend time blessing others. (Mark 2:27-28) If we are to be like Christ, then we ought to observe a sabbath rest.
Do you have a sabbath day in your schedule? What does it look like and have you found the genuine joy of rest, as God intended it? If not, how can you begin receiving this gift of rest? How could you render it back to God as an offering of worship? Sabbath is for our own good. God doesn’t want to hear from us: “But I don’t like to take a rest!”.