And on the seventh day you shall rest
You just must, yes it’s a must, take a day of rest each and every week
APPARENTLY God is not the cruel taskmaster after all.
Perhaps that’s what a whole lot of us had assumed, believing that God is only interested in compliance, do this, do that, or else.
You know; a ‘head down, tail up’ kind of existence; with no questions to be asked – just get the job done.
This view of God is reflected as someone who asks a lot, and gives practically nothing in return.
A God who wants to dictate how we behave, where and when we spend our time and money.
But how has that iron-fisted perspective of God been formed?
If we took a fresh look at the Bible, we would discover something altogether different.
Yes, God is certainly interested in how we spend our time, but there are some surprising finds here.
How many of us have recognised the God of the universe puts the utmost importance on us getting the right amount of rest, each and every week? It’s absolutely true. Ensuring we get adequate recreation is a core part of God’s moral code for life, actually one of the famous Ten Commandments.
It’s right there in black and white.
Make sure of this, God insists. You just must, yes it’s a must, take a day of rest each and every week.
It’s not a suggestion, it's a commandment. So to miss out on rest is to break a decree of the Almighty; it’s that big a deal.
Seemingly then, God may be far more interested in our wellbeing than given credit for.
Evidently God is interested in our mental health; He's interested in our emotional state.
He doesn’t look at people as machines that must relentlessly keep churning out more and more.
He created us to be human beings, not human doings, and so committed is God to the welfare of His followers that He commands, yes that’s right, commands them to practice rest.
He ordered a weekly reminder of that priority, in the form of taking a day out of what is otherwise a demanding work routine.
Keep the Sabbath day holy, God said (cf. Exodus 20:8). Holy simply meaning different; or separated.
Now certainly God values work. That’s undeniable. In the first week of creation, He laid out a 6/1 model.
Go hard for six days, then rest for one.
If you're mathematically inclined, this roughly equates to 85 per cent of our week being channelled towards work.
Most of the time, therefore, we ought to be finding ourselves occupied with work. Work is good and healthy. But so too is rest. Subsequently, God enforced it as part of a weekly routine.
Don't ever neglect rest, keep that one day separated, designated purely for rest.
Ready or not, Christmas is rushing toward us, 10 weeks from now.
As we enter into the time of year that some refer to as the ‘silly season’, it could be the perfect time to recalibrate.
To consider whether we are letting life happen to us or whether we are ordering it, according to priorities.
Maybe it’s the perfect time to check out of the rat race, and check in to an ordered life, shaped by thoughtful wisdom, living proactively instead of reactively.
For many of us, keeping a specialised day of rest could be a great place to start.
God stands ready to engage with us, but waits for us to stop, be still, and draw close.
As we begin to rest, He then can go to work, restoring our souls. ■ Jonathon Schroder, New Life Baptist Church
Jonathon Schroder New Life Baptist Church