When should I rest?

     In my life, I was raised to do a few things. One of them was to work. And not just work but working hard. Work hard for what you want, work hard for what you believe in. Work hard to achieve your dreams and goals. Something I never learned to do well was rest. I have said that I will sleep when I am dead more times than I can count.  Better yet, I have believed it. Work is simply more important than rest, right? I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with rest. I talk with people who are tired all the time, can’t sleep, nervous, stressed, have anxiety, and so much more going on with them being worried about their work. Now, just to shape up the definition, Work = paid job, house chores, grocery shopping, and so on. If you have to do it for the necessity of life, or function, it is work. Cleaning house, cooking, are also work. I enjoy cooking sometimes, but not always. So we spend a huge amount of time actually working, but how much of our time is spent resting or worshiping God?

     This week, I will write about rest, but next week I will be preaching Sunday about worship, and I will write a blog also. Mark 2:27 says “Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”” God created the Sabbath for us, not us for the Sabbath. Fun fact, observing the Sabbath is the only 10 commandment that is a ritual. Think through the others, they regard sin like don’t steal, don’t cheat, don’t have other Gods before me, and more. But, for us, those are the important ones. I think we often times can disregard the commandment to observe the Sabbath. If you are a pastor, a volunteer at church, paid staff member, Sunday’s are not days off. They just aren’t. It doesn’t mean, we don’t enjoy them, it doesn’t mean we don’t love what we do. I care enough about what God wants that I will put aside my day of rest.

     However, you know what I think God would rather me do? Move my day of rest. Taking time on Sunday afternoon to relax or doing things I enjoy occasionally during the week. Maybe its going for a nice drive on Saturday. Working on the car in the garage. Hanging out with friends and family. All of these are rejuvenating to me and help me relax. In the Bible there are 39 things they could not do on their day of Sabbath. Washing, cleaning, cooking, are all included. They could not harvest, they could not do all the things we make excuses for. Because, God wanted them to rest. And you know what hasn’t changed? God wants you to rest too.

     When you refuse to rest you are saying you know better than God. Because God commanded us to rest, so we are disobeying a direct commandment. In the scope of God’s law, and moral law, when we break this law of taking a Sabbath, we are sinning. And all sin is equal in God’s eyes. So, not observing the Sabbath is the same as killing someone, lying to someone. We are leaving the safe haven of God’s grace when we forgo our time of rest. God gave us this precious gift of rest, and we more often than not, throw it back in his face.

     The reason we work so hard is because we believe everything depends on us. I know that I have a day job, where I work 40+ hours at a desk. I know that I am preaching a message almost every Sunday. I know that I do chaplain visits at a job site. I know that I need to spend time with my wife and baby boy. I know my dogs need attention too. I know I need to cook, clean, mow the yard, take care of the cars, and other household tasks. Life is busy. But you know what happens if I take a day of rest? Nothing gets done. Nothing at all. So, on the other days, I need to do more to be able to observe a Sabbath day, a day of rest. What about your life? When was the last day off you took that did not have a honey do list, or a list a mile long because you have been watching the kids all week and trying to keep the house going?

      So, my challenge is to you, take half a day off to do nothing. Don’t clean, don’t work, don’t do chores. Relax, do something you enjoy. Do something that will fulfill your life more. God has commanded you to take a day of rest, take it. Enjoy it. And you know what? Try your best to do it every week, just as God commanded.
 
Pastor Kevin Plain

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