“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day He rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 (NLT)
If our souls crave rest what keeps us from taking a Sabbath? I’ve found four rest poachers that have robbed me of the rest God intended for me to enjoy.
1. Conforming to our culture is one of the biggest threats to keeping the Sabbath. There was a survey recently taken on which of the Big Ten Commandments were still important to live by today. The Sabbath came in dead last! As Americans, we tend to value productivity and workaholism. Somehow it has become a mark of nobility to always be working to the point we even feel guilty for taking any time off. Then, there’s FOMO – you know, “Fear Of Missing Out.” We think if we were to rest someone else may get ahead of us. God has a word about this for us in Romans 12:2. In the Message it says, “Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.” Have you done that? Pause for a moment and decide now to no longer let culture dictate your lifestyle. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Take one day out of seven to rest and recharge.
2. Addiction to motion is another rest poacher that will eventually wear you out. You can’t keep going 24/7. In Psalm 46:10, our Creator challenges us to, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Why is it that we are so uncomfortable with stillness? Like long pauses, stillness can make us feel uneasy. We become slaves of motion and busyness. We think we have to keep moving to make progress. In Isaiah 30:15 (NLT2), the Bible says, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.” Refuse to let your addiction to motion rob you of rest. Be still on your knees and experience God restoring your soul.
3. Playing God can also deprive you of rest. You’re playing God when you live by the philosophy, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” How is that working for you? Resign from being the general manager of the universe. There’s only one God and that’s not you or me. The world won’t crash if you take a day off. It was here long before you came, and it will most likely outlast us both. Learning to rest, to take a Sabbath day each week, is much like learning the stewardship of giving. It causes us to depend on God to be God as only God can be, and trust that He will accomplish His purpose with or without us. To the children of Israel, God said, “Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the LORD your God brought you out with His strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day” Deuteronomy 5:15 (NLT). Like Israel, God has brought you and me out of the slavery of sin to bring us into His freedom and rest.
4. Perhaps the biggest reason we don’t give our souls the rest they need is our failure to plan for it. We plan for every activity under the sun. We set up calendar reminders to pop up on our cell phones, so we won’t forget. Why not try setting up a calendar reminder for a Sabbath each week. The fact is, a Sabbath day never comes by accident. Good intentions are not enough. It takes some planning. So, before you go any further today, set up your Sabbath on your calendar this week and learn to rest. Tomorrow we’ll look at what you do on your Sabbath.