A piece recently written by Jared for his own blog that he agreed to share with us. Thank you, Jared!
My pastor jokes about how much he dislikes the idea of preaching a sermon on the fourth commandment, remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Out of all the commandments though, that one always seemed like the easiest one. I mean, who doesn’t like to take a day off? Most of us count down the days until the weekend. The problem is that in American culture, even when we have a day off, we still don’t rest. We like to fill up our days with as much stuff as we can. We sacrifice meals and sleep and it takes its toll on us. Not just physically but in our relationships also. The stress causes us to lash out at those we love and to act out in unhealthy ways in order to get a moment of relief.
The Old Testament solution was to create rules about what was considered “work” so you would know just what you couldn’t do on the Sabbath. But Jesus reminds us in Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. God was thinking of us and our need for rest. Even God rested after the creation of the world. From the very beginning, God was setting an example for us.
So why is it so hard for us to rest? Maybe you feel lazy when you’re not doing something. Maybe you drink so much caffeine that even when your body is not moving your mind is still racing. Maybe you don’t think you deserve a rest because you haven’t accomplished enough. Or maybe you’re afraid that if you slowed down you might lose your momentum. Whatever the reason is, we have to remember that rest is a command from God. And why does God give us commands? Because we are beloved. It’s for our own good. When we’re at rest healing can take place and it’s easier to hear God’s still, small voice.
So here we are, six months into this pandemic that has stopped a lot of the things that keep us busy. I’ve heard it said that we are in a time of forced rest. Like when your mom used to make you take a nap. You didn’t want to, but she knew that if you didn’t rest now there was a bigger chance of a meltdown later. It’s almost like God is saying, things are going to get bad so take a moment to rest and prepare. We don’t know how long this is going to last so let’s take advantage of this time we’ve been given to rest.