Where I live, we’re on the cusp of March Break. School children everywhere (to say nothing of the teachers) are giddy with excitement at at week without having to rise early and sit in classrooms for a whole week.
Why does this matter? Because rest matters.
God did not design us to go at it hard every day, world without end. He established a rhythm of work and rest in creation: one day in seven would be a day of rest.
There’s been a lot written over the years of what constitutes “rest”, of what one is “allowed” to do on a day set aside for Sabbath. I remember being chastised, as a student, for buying and reading a newspaper one Sunday afternoon. I’ve known others who were not allowed to play outside as children, others who were forbidden from watching television.
Sadly, less has been written and said about what should be celebrated on Sabbath than what is prohibited. As a result, what God intended as a gift to his people became just another law to abide. Dare I say it? I wonder if some families’ rigorous attempts to honour God with a day of rest actually may have driven some people from the church.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are some people who feel that they are sufficiently indispensable that they feel they must work on a day of rest. There is an illness of spirit in that mind set, and among the worst offenders are clergy. I have some colleagues who boast that they can’t remember the last time they took a day off. That doesn’t honour God. Working well honours God, yes, but so too does rest.
God invites us to work from our Sabbath rest – on whatever day we are able to take it (heaven knows pastors can’t take it on Sunday!) – not to work so hard that we collapse into a heap one day and find ourselves physically sick because we have failed to pace ourselves at a rate that enables our bodies and souls to keep in sync with each other.
So if March Break affords you the opportunity to find time to carve out some rest, take it! If not, be sure to take some other time in the year, as well as in the week, to enjoy the gift of time away from your daily labours. Take time to rest, take time to worship, take time to enjoy recreation in its literal sense, where you find re-creation taking place through the abandonment of work for a few days.
“So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested[a] from all his work” (Genesis 2.1-2, NLT).