My schedule can be pretty crazy sometimes. What with school, work, family, and church, there can be days in which I rarely spend time at home. Because of this I usually take one day a week as my “do nothing” day. This really helps me to recharge and finish out the week strong.

The funny thing is that this habit kind of developed on its own. I didn’t purposely sit down and establish that I would take one day off for the week. It was just the natural result of a busy schedule. But there is a biblical principle in taking a day of rest.

The first place we see this is during the creation account. God finishes all his work and we are told that he rested on the seventh day. God didn’t need to rest, he’s God! If anyone doesn’t need a rest it’s him, but he rested as an example to us that we should rest.

This idea of taking a day of rest shows up again in the Decalogue (big theology word for the ten commandments). In Exodus 20:8-11 we find this:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Wow, not only are we to rest, but even the animals! Now of course at that time animals were used for manual labor (such as plowing a field), but the whole country was literally to come to a stop for one day a week.

It’s interesting to me that this command mentions that the Sabbath day was a holy day. When you think back on creation why was it the day that God did nothing that was holy? Why not the day he created man, the pinnacle of creation? The reason of course is because it was the seventh day that God rested from all his work, and if God does something we need to take note.

If we follow the progression of this command we see some interesting things develop. I think we all understand what it means to rest, and we perhaps define rest in our own ways. When we get to the time of Jesus things were really out of hand.

The Pharisees were the largest sect of Judaism at the time, and one that many of the common people followed as well. The problem was that they added to the “understanding” of the law so that the rules and regulations were rather insane (from our perspective). One of the areas that they expanded on was the Sabbath. They wanted to avoid all work, of any kind, on that day so that it would not be profaned. But they got a little silly with what they imposed.

One account in the gospel of Mark really helps put things in perspective:

One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. “So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.

Can’t you just picture the scene. They walk through a field (which of course was really the first mistake) and they get a little hungry. So they pluck a few pieces of grain and rub them together to get at the kernel and then enjoy this simple snack. What’s wrong with that? Why didn’t they get on them about stealing the grain instead of Sabbath observance?

Jesus helps us bring the issue back into perspective: we get to enjoy the Sabbath because that is what God created it for. It was created for us to rest from our work! It’s our time let us enjoy it!

The principle to gleaned (*wink, wink*) from this is that it is appropriate to rest. Is work good? Yes, and it is something that we were created to do, but don’t let your life be consumed by work. What about those people who find pleasure from their work? They need some time off too. If you work too much you get burned out and that is not a good place to be in.

Take some time this weekend and just rest; enjoy God’s creation and the day of rest that he created for you!