The Bible starts out with a poem. In this poem, God creates creation. He spends 6 days creating light, the stars, the earth, oceans, land, animals, and humankind. On the seventh day, God rested and saw that His work was good.
If God needs rest, then so do we.
In today’s fast paced, always productive world it is easy to neglect this need. When we finally do get time to rest, it’s hard not to feel guilty because we feel like we should be doing something.
Over the years, I have become more comfortable with saying no when I am feeling overwhelmed and overbooked. However, I still have that feeling of guilt afterward. The question, “What are you doing instead?” enters my brain. Sometimes, I am not doing anything.
That is okay. There are times in our lives where we need to stop and pause. If we don’t, we will burn out. Not only that, we can become so stuck in our busyness that we miss what God is doing while we are looking towards the next thing. We can miss seeing that the work is good.
In the Book of Mark, Jesus and His disciples are walking through a field on the Sabbath, the day of rest per the law that God gave to Israel. The disciples got hungry, so they picked some grain and started eating it. The religious leaders of the day saw this and immediately jumped on the opportunity to try and discredit Jesus and His disciples –
The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:24-28 NIV
The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus in theological arguments several times. Jesus always cuts through the surface and goes for the deeper truth. The Sabbath day wasn’t created arbitrarily. It also wasn’t just a rule to follow. No, the Sabbath was created because we need rest.
We shouldn’t feel guilty about this. I shouldn’t feel the need to justify rest. This doesn’t mean that life is all rest. Rest without work is just laziness. However, we will never enjoy the fruits of our labor unless we take the time to stop and rest.