My summer reading includes A. J. Jacobs nonfiction book, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (Simon & Schuster, 2007). On page 71, Jacobs says “ . . . is there really a boundary between the weekday and the weekend. Between work hours and overtime? We work on Saturday, the Jewish Shabbot. We work on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath. We put more hours in than the God of Genesis himself.”
We justify it in many ways: “it needs to be done”; “who else will do it?”; “I’ll take more time off next week” . . . ad infinitum. Rest seems like a waste of time. Most of us have a difficult time imagining a day devoted to rest. We admire people who work hard and play hard. We have weekend projects that include maintaining home, yard, or garden. We travel or watch television. We have ball games and family obligations and hobbies.
God rested. How strange! A God who never sleeps, who is ever-present, decides to take the day off. And because God rested, God directs God’s people to rest (Ex 31:17). In fact, God takes the day of rest so seriously that the community should put to death “everyone who profanes” the sabbath (31:14). While it is unlikely this happened often (it does in Numbers 15:32-36), apparently rest is serious business! Serious enough that God rested.
In a post on his website http://ajjacobs.com, Jacobs writes: “MOST UNEXPECTEDLY WISE AND LIFE-ENHANCING RULES . . . Keep the sabbath. . . . I learned the beauty of an enforced pause in the week. No cell phones, no messages, no thinking about deadlines. It was a bizarre and glorious feeling. As one famous rabbi called it, the sabbath is a ‘sanctuary in time.’”
Summer is a Sabbath of sorts. Time off, time to do those things you only do in the summer. I hope you will consider setting aside time aside to do nothing. God speaks to us in the silence of nothingness. Pray and then have silence. Listen to God with an open heart and a rested mind. Whenever you have an opportunity for time off make it a Sabbath; spend it with God.
Keep praying and have a great, safe summer!
Grace & Peace,