June 8, 2022 | Andy Lynch

What is rest?

Is it 9 hours of sleep when your body needs 8 to be good? Maybe rest is that Sunday afternoon nap you take each week, or life at a lake with a fishing pole. Jesus made this curious statement about rest on one particular Saturday afternoon.

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28

God made something for us. It must be important then, right? If the Creator said something like, “You’re going to need this thing pretty often. Yeah, you will get sleep every night but that’s not enough. I’m going to give you a full day to rest. Trust me, it will be good.”

But do we still have Sabbath in today’s society? In our weekly rhythms?  

What is the Sabbath anyway? There’s a nice description of the Sabbath in the 10 Commandments. It’s the one commandment that has the most words written about it. Curious. Maybe it’s important. Take a look at Exodus 20:8-11

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

God wants us to rest. To rest in His presence but also to get rest for our bodies and souls. He’s acknowledging how very hard this world can be. Think of how taxing it must have been to live in those days; lots of physical labor; no Advil; lots of difficult storms and unreliable shelter; no air conditioning; working hard for six days per week because of the curse of sin from the garden. God said, seven straight days is too much. You will rest.   

Why don’t we follow this one very much anymore? I’m asking myself that question before I ask you. Why do I either need to make the most of every minute or want to be lazy? Neither is restful.  

Why am I thinking about this now? Well, it’s summer and in my 43 years of life, summers have either been really busy, packed with activities, or really boring, packed with isolation. I may have had one or two ‘good’ balanced weeks of summer in my life, but I don’t remember many. I want that to change this year, both for me and for my family. I want to instill a rhythm of rest when it is given by society. 

The kids have eight weeks without school. I want them to take that time and have fun but also to learn to rest. I want them to see idle time as a good thing, a time to talk with God and be in His presence. I want the same things for myself.  One day a week. No responsibility. No pressures. We just are. We spend time with God, with those we love, and we find rest for our weary souls. 

The Sabbath is for us. Why don’t we take God up on His offer?

May this be a summer of rest for us all, as we prepare for a great fall of growth!