Friday, February 10, 2017
Take a Break
Lev. 26:34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbath years as long as it lies desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its sabbath years. 35 As long as it lies desolate, it shall have the rest it did not have on your sabbaths when you were living on it.
God revealed that there would be consequences for disobedience. The people of God were to observe a Sabbath rest. They were to give the land a year of Sabbath rest and yet, in their covetousness, to get everything that they could out of the soil, they refused to follow God’s law.
If they did not allow the Sabbath rest to come upon the land, then the people themselves would be handed over to their enemies and the land would have its rest. So important was the need for rest that if God’s people would not do it voluntarily, God would have to manage it by action.
Sabbath rest is important for all of us. Earlier this week I wrote about the ant and making sure we work with ant-like tenacity. At the other end of the spectrum we need to take a break. We cannot always be going, going, going but we need to take time to slow down and be recharged. Just as the land needs rest so that it can be recharged and become more useful, so do we.
Jesus took time to rest and spend time in the Father’s presence. He knew that he could not keep going without that rest.
Slowing down and having sabbath can be hard in this fast-paced world. I remember when I was a child that we didn’t read the newspaper or turn on the TV on Sundays. It was a slow and quiet day in which we went to church, had Sunday dinner with family and friends and went back to church again in the evening. We often played games, laughed and talked together. I must confess that there are times when I look back rather longingly at that time. There is no way it would “just happen” these days. Everyone has too much to do and our lives have been encroached upon by the busyness of the world. If it will happen, it will have to be intentional.
We may even become captured by the busyness of doing good things — kingdom business. We may be running full steam ahead and believe that we are doing everything for God. That may be true, but God has still commanded us to slow down and observe a Sabbath. We need that space where we take a deep breath, relax, and listen to the still small voice of the Lord leading us in the way we should go. Just as the Israelites overused their land, so we may overuse our own personal resources until we reach the place of exhaustion and are useless.
Overuse of our own resources is a form of self-centeredness, as it reveals our lack of dependence on God. Sabbath forces us to stop, rest, and listen — and realize that everything is not dependent upon us, but God. Sabbath creates a space in which we focus on the Lord. It’s time to take a break, be intentional, and find space for Sabbath in our lives.
Lord, thank you for the reminder that I need to take a break. Amen.