School’s out for summer! Graduations, graduation parties, honor awards, sports awards, concerts, field trips and all the other end of the year events are mostly past. For adults like me who don’t have children or grandchildren in school, we still experience a different pace during the summer. Days are longer. We plan trips if we can. There may be lots of activities to attend and enjoy, but it just feels different than the school year. It’s a time to change gears. To do different things. Hopefully relax a little, enjoy time with friend and family, and rest.
Rest. What is that? In our hectic world, we don’t do much resting. It feels like we are slacking, are incredibly lazy, if we have time to rest. It is not valued though we often say we wish we had more time for it. However, when we do change gears for a while and give ourselves a chance to rest we find we actually have more energy when we dig back in to whatever needs to be done.
What we tend to forget is that the Creator who designed us, designed us to need rest of all kinds. We all need a good night’s sleep. Young children need naps to help them through the day. When our bodies are healing from injury, illness or surgery, it needs more rest than usual so that our energy is used to help repair and rebuild. Perhaps our most neglected rest is the Sabbath, a day set aside each week to take a break from all work.
“Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. Because the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8, 11)
“Six days you may work and do all your tasks, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That’s why the Lord your God commands you to keep the Sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:13-15)
Two different reasons are given for the Sabbath–both focus on God’s work. In Exodus, we are to keep the Sabbath because during creation, God rested on the seventh day. In Deuteronomy we are told to remember God saving the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Both agree however that it is a day we are to treat as holy—filled with God, devoted to God, honoring God. It is not only rest, it is restoration. It is a way to heal our spirits. It is a way to reset our priorities and put God first. It is a way to restore our energy for doing God’s work.
As the seasons change, take time to rest in all ways. Most importantly, remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.