If we simply drive our cars with never an oil change, the engine will eventually seize and die. And if we insist on driving our lives with constant work and never engage in Sabbath rest, we will inevitably burn-out and kill ourselves. Yet, this is what far too many persons are doing today. We are putting the pedal-to-the-metal in our lives with no thought to any kind of Sabbath rest. We are slowly draining our souls, causing ourselves physical harm, and are on the precipice of spiritual death.
Perhaps you think I am being too dramatic? You might think so if you have never read biblical verses like today’s Old Testament lesson. But if we take the Scripture seriously we will see that all of life is to be governed by a rhythm of life. Yes, we are not under Israelite law. However, every law in the Old Testament is grounded in the person of God himself. This means we may not be obliged to hold to the detailed specifics of the seven years system and a year of Jubilee, but we are still beholden to observe a Sabbath rhythm of rest because God rested. Just as God loves and God is holy, we are to love and be holy as he is holy. The same holds true for Sabbath. Just as God rested from all his work, we are to rest from our work. If I haven’t been explicit enough, I will say it plainly: we are commanded to rest!
It is high time we begin building into our weekly planners, smartphone calendars, and long-range goals an inclusion of Sabbath rest. That means not just doing it once-in-a-while if I can fit it in somewhere, but making it a real actual event on a regular basis in your life. No excuses, no fudging of appointments, and no lame sighs about how we are so busy. Set aside some time today to build Sabbath into your schedule for the rest of the year, and maybe beyond. I’m not saying this is easy; in fact, it is terribly hard for me to get this practice into my own life. But without it I am less of a husband, father, grandfather, and pastor. The people in my life deserve better than that.
Gracious God, you created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Help me not to put Sabbath on some wish list of things to do someday, but enable me to practice it with courage and without apology. Through the name of Jesus, I live and pray. Amen.