Monday, April 4, 2016


April 4, 2016

The Fourth Commandment tells us to keep a Sabbath Day as a day of rest, citing God's rest after his work of Creation. Orthodox Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists take this command both seriously and literally, while most of the rest of Christendom observes Sunday as the holy day commemorating Christ's resurrection. Therein lies the rub. That resurrection Sunday was a day of explosive activity, and not much has changed since then, particularly in our frenetic society that doesn't know the meaning of rest.

For most of my life, Sundays have been filled with activity. When I was preaching, I would arrive at the church at 6:30, leave for dinner at 1:00, and be back in the evening for a couple hours. There was nothing restful about Sundays, and to be honest, it hasn't changed much in retirement. It wouldn't be so bad if another day was reserved for rest, but we have ingested the mindset of the world around us that equates continual activity with success, and in our case, holiness, when in fact, it is a sign of our sinfulness and spiritual ill health. We often act as if we  believe God's work could not possibly continue without our constant oversight. It is really a matter of disobedience to the clear will of God, and it usually carries a high price in stress, frayed relationships, and a gradual erosion of our effectiveness.

There is always one more good deed to do, one more person in need, one more meeting to attend; apart from a determined commitment to detach from the work in order to actually rest, we keep going till something snaps. I've discovered to my surprise that retirement doesn't automatically solve this problem.

Today I literally did nothing except exercise, read, and pray, and it was wonderful. That day of rest helps put all the others into perspective as I refused to let other stuff intrude upon my time with God and myself. Now the trick will be to make sure this becomes a habit. It will take discipline, and the willingness to simply say "no." I suspect it will be worth it in greater efficiency the remaining six days, and in deeper peace throughout. If not, I still give thanks for this day and the peaceful perspective it has given me.

No comments:

Post a Comment