Thursday, January 20, 2011

Remembering our place

here was an evening a little over a week ago when it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. Some late nights studying combined with some early mornings had left me fatigued and frustrated. I had more to get done than I had energy to do. Ever been there? Playing on the floor with the children I actually fell asleep on the wood floor! I realized that I was going to have to rest. So I put the children to bed, left the to-do list for later, and went to bed hours before my normal bed-time. And you know what? The world didn't end.

In the Bible, God commands us to rest. No command seems more needed for us modern workaholics. We need a rest from our work. We need a rest from our computers. We need a rest from our cell-phones. We need a rest from our self-importance. We've come to mistake busyness for righteousness, crammed day-planners for full-souls.

We are called to work, yes, but to work and rest. Rest keeps us from turning our work or our place in our work into an idol. That is why we need Sabbath. Sabbath, after all, isn't just to rest our bodies, but for the reorientation of our souls. It is only in stopping and not doing that we remember this world doesn't spin on our efforts but upon God's grace. We are creatures, he is the creator. We are important . . . but we're not that important. God gives us jobs to do, yes, but he doesn't ask us to do everything. Resting, sleeping, practicing Sabbath remind us that his work is bigger than ours even if our work does find its proper place in him.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work - Exodus 20:9-10.

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