The Sabbath is a day of rest. It is a day to stop working, to reflect, to remember, to celebrate. It is a day for quietness and a day for worship. God's concerns about the Sabbath do not come from a desire to control us. Jesus made it clear that Sabbath-keeping was not meant to be one more compulsion, one more "should", one more obligation. God does not ask us to rest because he wants to create one more burden for us.
Rest for people is like oil changes for internal combustion engines. A lot of careful engineering goes into the manufacturer's recommendations about oil changes. Maybe we can put it off for a while, but we can't put it off forever. The engine will stop working. Irreversible damage will be done. The manufacturer does not recommend oil changes because it has a vested interest in selling lots of oil. The manufacturer knows what the engine needs and wants it to run for us without breaking down.
God wants our experience with life to be a positive one. And God knows what we need for this to happen. God knows we can put off rest for a while, but we can not put it off forever. We will stop functioning. We will do irreversible damage.
Many of us have a history of taking days of rest and making them the most rest-less days of the week. We have an amazing ability to fill a day of rest with non-stop activity. But expressing our compulsivity in leisure activities is not the same thing as rest. It will take some creativity and discipline for us to find ways to keep the Sabbath that work for us. But that's what God wants. God wants Sabbath to be 'for' us. The Sabbath is God's gracious provision for us.
Help me not to become compulsive about rest, Lord.
I am compulsive about so many other things.
Spare me from adding this to my long list of things to do.
You offer me rest, Lord,
because you love me.
Let me, out of a growing love for you and for myself
allow myself to rest today.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery