“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-29, The Message).
I’ve been learning about the Sabbath lately, specifically as to how God instituted and inaugurated it way back in Genesis by resting on the seventh day after creation.
God’s people later turned it into a burdensome maze of rules and regulations, but Jesus reclaimed it as a time of refreshment and restoration, proclaiming that people weren’t made for the Sabbath of rule-keeping but that the Sabbath was made for people who sometimes need day off and a time of rest.
The key is trusting God that He can do more with your six days and one day devoted to Him than you could with seven kept all for yourself. It’s almost like tithing your time.
There will always be something that needs your attention, something that has to be done. You could literally spend every waking moment occupied with all your tasks and chores and still never get it all done.
The secret is deciding what’s really important. Is getting stuff done more important than soul-rest? Is busy-ness really a good indicator of how productive and mature you and your family are? If you don’t initiate the effort to make time for rest, your body will decide for you when to rest.
Dallas Willard once said that you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. One way to do that is by taking one day a week for rest. Out of all the commandments God gave to Moses, He spent more time on the Sabbath than on anything else. If you get bored, you can look up how many times the Bible speaks about rest– I guarantee it’s a lot, because rest is important.
When God rested on the seventh day, He set the example for us to follow. May we learn the unforced rhythms of grace and rest that Jesus spoke about and truly find rest for our souls that all of us so desperately need.