How Important is a “Day of Rest?”
Why God Created a Day for Downtime
by Martin Casper Do you ever experience the feeling of complete overload? Do you feel like the only way you can get ahead is by slamming it 24/7? I hear these types of comments more and more frequently. The cost of living continues to rise faster than our income grows, so we work harder and for longer. People are genuinely concerned, and others are depressed. Some feel they must forego balance in their lives just to survive. What’s more, in our ever-increasing fast-paced world of technology, smart phones, and social media, it’s easy to slip over the edge. We have no balance. We’re burning out, lost in a maze of sensory overload. We can get dangerously close to losing the ability to appreciate the need for real downtime.
Is there a solution for this crisis?
How can we get back our sense of balance? How can we carve out some serious downtime back into our lives? God has the solution; a unique and simple way to regain some time to ourselves. In fact, it’s so simple that many of us have missed it!
Take one day off a week and spend it with Him.
You might be thinking, “Wait a minute! By taking off one day a week, how can I accomplish everything that must be done? I can’t even stay on top of everything working seven days a week, let alone six!” Well, it turns out that taking a day off really is a good idea. Joel Gascoigne wrote about his personal experiment with various 7-day work-week scenarios: ”I feel like the 7-day work week failed because of lack of an extended period of renewal. My hypothesis—that a couple extra hours during the day and fewer overall daily hours working would be enough—was invalidated in my experience. After trying a 7-day work week, I became quite fascinated by the concept of a day of rest. It occurred to me that this is a tradition that has been around for a very long time, and of separate origins. Almost all of the world observes some form of a weekly day of rest.” Joel continues, “I’m no expert on the Bible, however with a little research I found that the origin of the Seventh-day or Sabbath, is found in Genesis 2:2-3: ‘And on the Seventh- day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the Seventh-day from all His work which He had made’ (KJV).”
Isn’t this amazing?
Here is an individual who wasn’t coming from a religious standpoint, but through his own personal journey, concludes that working seven days a week is not healthy mentally or physically. He also discovers that God created a day for our personal downtime! So, what does the Bible say about this concept? I really like two specific Bible texts to answer this question: “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, rather than following your own desires or talking idly.Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken” (Isaiah 58:13-14, NLT). Here, the prophet Isaiah is calling Sabbath-keeping a delight! Now I don’t know about you, but no matter how much I love my profession, it isn’t always a delight. Here, Isaiah describes a regular period of “delight” we can have each week! The book of Mark provides another incredible insight into the purpose of the Sabbath. Here, Jesus was having a discussion with the leading rulers of the Jews. They had been accusing Jesus and His disciples of not being good Sabbath keepers. They were out and about, grabbing some food on the Sabbath. Jesus’s simple response was, “And He said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28, NKJV) God created a day of downtime for humanity so we could enjoy this life and the world He created. This is very cool! In my own life, there was a period of time when I knew about the Sabbath, but chose not to keep it. I chose a personal agenda over a faith-based relationship with Jesus. But when I humbled myself by submitting my life to Him and became a Sabbath keeper, I quickly understood the real meaning and true benefit of downtime.
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