If I were to ask you to list the Ten Commandments probably some of you could get all ten of them. Most of us would get some of the obvious ones: don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t cheat on your spouse, and don’t gossip. I have a feeling many of us might not remember the commandment about rest: Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 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. (Exodus 20:8-10) Even if we do remember that commandment, is it one that we embrace and practice?
We have a constant temptation to work. And when we are not working it is easy to think about work. Other activities keep our schedules full: household management, children, and social functions are at the top of the list for most of us. We describe ourselves as busy, hectic, and full of activity. Some of us even wear these titles as a badge of honor as we equate activity with importance, significance, and worth. But I think, and I think you think, that something isn’t quite right.
God says: Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. (Psalm 37:7) It is interesting what this text doesn’t say: 1) Be still and wait patiently for Him to act. 2) Be active in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. It says: Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.
Imagine that you are sitting with a close friend that you haven’t seen in quite some time. The two of you sit down to have a conversation, to talk and listen. The only problem is that you are sitting on a bench on the corner of a major intersection. It is rush hour. A guy is mowing the grass right behind you. A large airplane is flying overhead. Distractions are all around. We call this ridiculous.
But when it comes to real life we call it perfectly normal. In the midst of our busyness, stress, worry, and activity do we really think we are going to hear God’s voice? God gives us the Sabbath as His gift to us. It is a period of time where we can be still in God’s presence, wait patiently, and be His child—nothing more and nothing less.
Keeping Sabbath isn’t something we do. It describes who we are. It means we are rested instead of tired. Content instead of craving. Calm instead of worried. Giving instead of requiring. And, feasting instead of nibbling on whatever scraps we can find.
God tells us to rest and to be still. Not all the time. But some of the time. Rest is not idleness. Rest allows us to renew our mind, body, and soul and live as we have never lived before.
Robin and Batman