While working on my model railroad layout on my day off last Monday, a death in the family occurred: my cordless drill gave up the ghost. Its two batteries were no longer accepting a charge that would give the drill sufficient power to countersink more than one or two screws. The visitation and funeral took place immediately, with the sharing of fond memories of layouts past that had been built, when the drill was younger and stronger.
As the cycle of life with tools comes and goes, I found myself later that day in a nearby home improvement store, respectfully and carefully seeking out a replacement for my deceased friend. With its successor chosen, I paid the bill and returned home. The greatest characteristic of this new drill is that it has more power than the old one: 18 volts versus 14.4 volts. (Picture a “Tim the Tool Man Taylor” kind of growl coming out of my mouth as I wrote that…more power!)
The problem with rechargeable batteries – at least the kind in the old drill – is that they cannot accept an infinite number of charges and still be expected to perform. Eventually, what gives them the juice to keep working will fail.
We humans have something to learn from the lowly nickel cadmium battery.
We are like those batteries in the sense that we can’t keep going on and on and on without being recharged somehow. Thankfully, we are unlike them in that we can be charged up again and again and again – though not infinitely.
God designed us for work and rest. There is a cycle, a rhythm to life: 7 being a very significant biblical number, and 7 being the number of days in a week according to the calendar we follow, there needs to be one of those seven days each week that steps aside from the daily routine. In the days of the Old Testament, and to our Jewish friends, it’s called “sabbath”. To us, it’s a day of rest. Christ-followers usually call it “the Lord’s Day”.
When folks talk about coming to worship as “recharging their batteries”, there’s some truth to that: in giving our praise to God and serving others, and in receiving spiritual nourishment from God, we find our batteries recharged – we find ourselves better equipped to take on the week that is before us. But surely there should be more!
There is. The concept of ‘sabbath’ involves us taking a day away from the normal routines of the week. Ideally, that day should include worship and community with God’s people, but it ought also to include activities that are so different from our day-to-day activities that we feel refreshed just in doing those activities.
The Scriptures record that rest was valued by God: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2.2-3, NIV). So if God rested on the seventh day – Saturday, on our calendar – why do we worship and rest on Sunday, the first day? Because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week!
For the Christ-follower, our cycle of work and rest is based on the victory of Jesus. When we rest from our day-to-day work on Sunday, we honour his work in bringing us salvation. Our time with the church on Sunday involves worship, but even our rest, the recharging of our batteries both spiritually and physically, honours God.
In this world of rush-rush-rush and ‘get it done now’, my prayer for you is that you will be able to take time to rest, to recharge your batteries, and in so doing to honour God.