For years, a Friday sunset to Saturday sunset “sabbath rest” was sacrosanct in our household. It wasn’t much of a rest, though, because most of the daytime part of it was taken up with getting ready for church, travelling to church, spending several hours at church, and then the trip back from church, arriving home – well, ready for a rest.
So Sunday became our family “day off,” where we dropped all the routine stuff we did all week and on “church” day, and did something different. It wasn’t necessarily restful, in the sense of snoozing the day away, but it was a consciously chosen change of pace.
I’ve read many articles since by health experts that taking one day a week off is essential for our physical, mental, and emotional well being. But when you’re healthy, busy, or stuck in a lifestyle where taking any time off is nearly impossible, to suggest taking a day off on any day is almost an insult.
But to some it’s not an insult at all; to them it is a vital part of their lives, based on God himself resting on the 7th day of creation. So, why not copy him and take the 7th day off too? And copy what he did on the 7th day as well, by not doing any of the work that filled the other days of the week. And since “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Genesis 2:3), then make one’s 7th day rest “holy time” as well.
For others, Sunday is the day for all that, based on the decision made many centuries ago that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday.
Each to his own, of course, but common to all is recognizing God made us physical. And in his physical creation he created a seven day week, and by example set aside a day in the week to rest. He set that in motion right from the start, continued it with Israel, and used it as an example for us now to rest in him (Hebrews 4).
Resting to God, then, is very important, primarily trusting our lives to him as our source of rest every day, but also taking into account he made us physical – and noting that Jesus made sure his disciples rested physically too (Mark 6:31).
I wish he was here to do that for me, because putting the brakes on when I’m on a roll is hard, just as it was for the disciples in Mark 6. Interesting, then, that the author of Hebrews wrote: “let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest” in Hebrews 4:11. Seems like he understood how hard it is to rest too. No wonder we drink gallons of coffee….