Remember the Sabbath day, and 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; you shall not do any work … For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it – Exodus 20:8-11.
When I read this verse, the first thing that popped into my head was “Lord, I’m too busy to have a Sabbath day!”
There are two reasons for the Sabbath commandment:
- Remember the Sabbath day – We need to stop our work and spend time remembering the work of the Lord. This means to meditate on the greatness of God and on the sacrifice He made for us. Spend time thinking about how big our God is–He created not only our earth, but also the entire universe: every mountain and every atom, from the very large to the very small.
- Rest – Our bodies are designed to need rest. If you’ve ever gone without sleep, you probably understand this very well! Rest is how our bodies repair themselves from normal wear and tear. When we don’t take time to rest, even simple tasks can begin to seem overwhelming and our bodies become less able to deal with stress. Rest isn’t just something we do when we have time; it’s something commanded by God Himself!
Believe me, I know it’s hard to find time to rest. I’m in school; have homework; work two jobs; volunteer at church; do housework; make time for my husband, friends and family; and I’m a mentor to five teenage girls. Life is busy! Those of you who are in high school may be preparing for college. Many of you may be involved in sports or clubs–all of those things are fun but rest is important.
People who do not get enough rest are at a greater risk of becoming irritable, less joyful, depressed, less productive, less creative, and more negative. They have increased risk for obesity, addictions, accidents, memory problems, and unhealthy social relationships. God doesn’t give us commandments to take away our fun; He gives us commandments to keep us safe and healthy. The actual day of the Sabbath is not what’s important–what’s important is making the time to have a Sabbath.
I think it’s time that we celebrate the fact that God commands us to rest. Take a serious look at your schedule: Is there anything on it that you don’t really need to be doing?
How can you begin to implement a Sabbath into your week?
Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by His journey, was sitting [resting] by the well. It was about noon. – John 4:6
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But He [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. – Mark 4:37-38