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.
Deuteronomy 5:13-14a, NLT*
Note the extra word the NLT adds here: “Your ordinary work.”
Rest. He insists on it. God rested on the seventh day of creation, not because He needed it, but because we would need it. Because otherwise we’d find ways to go nonstop in the pursuit of our “ordinary” work.
Stopping becomes an act of faith as well as obedience. It’s a sign to us, and to others, of God’s trustworthiness and His care for us. It means we trust Him to help us accomplish the “ordinary” work He has for us in the other six days.
Truly resting and trusting means not just stopping the work for a day. It means stopping thinking about the work for the day. Otherwise our minds keep working, and we miss the point.
Choosing rest makes us see where our worship and affection really lie – and where they belong. It can refocus us on what’s truly important, taking our focus off ourselves and pointing us back to God. It may reveal a few things that need trimming from our schedules. It also recharges us to return to work with new energy and stamina.
Worship is a key part of soul-rest and restoration. Other aspects of a day of rest dedicated to God may mean different things to different people.
Without legalism, and with daily resting in His presence as well, how might we expand our understanding of a designated day of rest?
God our Creator and our Shepherd, You know our limitations better than we do. You know we need rest of body, mind, and spirit, and You know how we can turn our own agendas into mini-gods if we’re not continually reminded of our true allegiance. Thank You for being the kind of God who rests His people instead of grinding us into the ground. Thank You that You desire relationship with us: our love, not just our labour. Teach us what it means to rest, including how to carve out a day of rest in our fast-paced world. May our obedience be a sign for us and for others of Your goodness.
The key to rest is the invitation of Jesus to “Enter the Rest of God,” sung here by Brian Doerksen.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.