Growing up, Sundays meant no yard work and my dad took a nap. They stood out in contrast to all the other days because he worked Monday through Friday and almost always did yard work on Saturday–which meant I did too.
I gathered pine cones into brown paper bags, I raked leaves. Then there was the time Dad asked me to plant the tomato seedlings. He instructed me to remove them from their plastic tray and shake off some dirt before putting them in the ground. When he returned to check my progress he found me holding tiny plants with no dirt at all on their roots. It amazed him when they later produced just fine.
I find it curious that God rested on the seventh day. He’s God; He certainly didn’t need to rest. May be He rested to set a precedent. To draw a line in the sand between work and rest so that we wouldn’t do too much or too little of one or the other.
When I transitioned away from my parents’ home into my married one, Jon and I kept a fairly good tradition of Sabbath in our early years. Then, kids happened. And the laundry piled up, and the mail, and the papers from school. And more stinkin’ papers from school. I began to ignore the idea of taking a day off.
It started with a simple, I’ll throw in a load of whites–get a jump start on the week. Or, I’ll organize the mail; may be pay some bills. Then, instead of ten things, I’ll only have seven on Monday’s to-do list.
I gained a day, but at what cost?
Last Sunday afternoon I set out on a jog. I’d been feeling antsy ’cause I’d exercised only once all week. I’ll squeeze in a quick run, I thought. Thirty minutes start to finish. No big deal. As I set out, soft feet pounding hard pavement, I felt a little sad; I knew I was getting gypped. Gypped of a day meant for rest. And not by someone else, but by my own choice. That’s when it hit me: I need to go back to that line in the sand and bold it, highlight it, respect it and stick to it. Not because I have to; because I want to. For my own sanity.
I mentioned this series would contain a comfort and a challenge each week so here’s the challenge: Observe a Sabbath. You heard me. Eat cereal for dinner. Let the laundry pile up. Whatever it takes. Don’t lift a finger.
If your job requires work on Sundays, no big deal. Pick another day. It’s time to ask ourselves, are we really accomplishing that much more by allowing ourselves to be swept into the rip current of productivity seven days a week?
This isn’t religion. This is about following the spirit of the law, not the letter of it. What may be “work” for some, may be rest for others. Let the Holy Spirit and your conscience be your guide. The question to ask is: am I getting the break I need from all the stuff I do the remainder of the week? Is my family getting the break they need? Have we created a space to rest? Individually or together.
Besides, who’s to say there’s nothing productive about rest? Peace, intimacy with the Father, joy from lounging with loved ones–these are the accomplishments in the unseen.
Make the Sabbath a priority again. Go crazy: do it all month. It’ll be outrageous. It’ll be holy.
This is the “Adventures in Grace” series. I’ll add links to the topics as I post them.
- Venture with Me?
- An Outrageous Day
- Gearing Up or Stepping In?
- Listen Well
- Cousin to Mercy?
- Crazy Lovin’
- Feel Your Way
- Look Different, Be Different
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