Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Give It a Rest!

"Give it a rest!"

As a parent, I've used those words, or something similar to it on many occasions.

Maybe you've used them in a car, restaurant, or other close quarters. Maybe you've used them when someone or something was repeating a noise, a thought, a word, or an act, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and...

Sometimes those words can be for our good too.

God told Moses, "For 6 yrs. you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the 7th yr. let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among you may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave." (Exodus 24:10)

Sabbath is good stewardship of the environment and bringing about social justice.

Then He tells Moses, "6 days do your work, but on the 7th day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed." (Exodus 24:12)

Sabbath is good stewardship of people and equipment.

It was also interesting in Exodus when Moses went up the mountain to meet with God, Moses waited for 6 days. But on the 7th, God appeared.

Sabbath is good for worship.

And when the children of Israel left the comforts of Egypt and wandered in the desert, God provided food, 6 out of 7 days. On the 6th day, they were to save up enough for two days so they wouldn't have to gather on the sabbath. God would provide a double portion, just this 1 day of the week.

Sabbath is good for our faith.

How are you doing at giving yourself and those around you a rest? Do you treat every day just like the rest of the days? Do you take a break, change the pace, give it a rest 1 out of every 7?

Eugene Peterson wrote that as a pastor, it is easy to think our work is "SO IMPORTANT" that we neglect to rest, even though we call the church people to do it. Peterson says that the principle of "sabbath" (resting 1 out of 7), reminds him that the world was here before he was, will be here after he's gone, and will be just fine without him working that 1 day.

I've tried to put that into practice in our household. The kids each have a paper route. (3 kids, 3 routes.) And it is a 7-day-a-week job. But we make sure everyone has a day off. The girls take off Sun. morning. Noah and I go and do the route that day. Noah takes off Sat. AM. The girls get the Sun. inserts bagged, and I get up and do the routes, most Saturdays, by myself.

Sometimes it's no big deal. I'm an early riser and the peace and quiet of the morning can be refreshing for the spirit, the mind, and the body.

But there are other days when allowing them to have a sabbath isn't easy. It would be better for me if I could get one of them up.

Then I remember, "If God rested on the 7th day, the land is supposed to rest on the 7th day, and I've been commanded to let everyone under my roof rest on the 7th day, it's probably more important for them to sleep in that 1 day."

So how 'bout you? How are you doing at giving it (and yourself) a rest?

Grace & peace.

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