We live in a fast-paced world and it seems that simplifying our lives has never been more complicated! Doesn’t it seem like there is always something to do and not enough hours in your day to accomplish it? Are we able to answer these questions with a positive response? Do I have peace when functioning in my day-to-day activities? Do I feel rested when my alarm goes off in the morning? Can I make it through the day without wanting to take a nap?
I have found two reasons in the scriptures for the Sabbath. The first one is found in Genesis 2:2 where we’re told that God finished creation in six days and then He rested on the seventh day. God established a pattern of work and rest, which is a model for believers and it shows us that rest is appropriate and right. Why did God rest? He accomplished His objective. We too, must recognize a limit to our work… to stop, allow the body, mind, and spirit to recognize their limitations.
The second reason the Sabbath was given is often ignored. God said to Israel to remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:15) They were to rest in order to reflect on God’s ability to work beyond the labors they had already completed.
At the heart of the Sabbath is the word rest. The Sabbath is intended for people, that they may learn to rest. It is intended to prevent burnout—to recover from too much pressure and catch up with yourself; to gather yourself together so you are able to handle the work you must do.
Jesus showed us the importance of rest when He sat wearily beside a well after a long walk (John 4:6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.) and when He slept in the back of a boat with His head on a pillow (Mark 4:38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”). He also rested when He and His disciples got away from the crowds (Mark 6:31,32 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.)
If the Lord rested from the work of creation and the work of His ministry, we need to rest from our work as well because our times of rest refresh us for our times of service. Schedule yourself some “slow down” time this week and get some rest.