"Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns." Exodus 20:8-10
The fourth commandment reminds us to rest. Rest!? You might think? Who has time to rest? In the American culture at this time, rest is not a priority. Rest is for the weak. And we are all the strong who can keep going forever!
I hope you realize I'm being facetious. Rest is extremely important to our health and happiness as human beings. God created us to need and desire rest, in multiple ways. Not only do we require physical rest in sleep, but we also require mental and emotional rest in order to stay healthy. Many people experience stress and burn out because they do not allow themselves to rest enough. Being well rested allows us to work in our strengths and do the work we need to do.
The Jewish practice of sabbath starts in the evening the day before. This puts the whole next day in the right framework in order to rest. "Sabbath is God's way of saying, "Stop. Notice your limits. Don't burn out."" (Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 42) When even God rested in the story of creation, we know that we too need to rest in order to reach our full potential. We belong to the kingdom of God and in the kingdom of God there are no clocks, no task masters, no to do lists. Sabbath, and resting, are spiritual practices preparing us for our lives in the fullness of the kingdom of God.
Think about what it might mean to take a full day to rest with God. What would you need to let go of in order to rest? What are the consequences of not resting? Think about how you can find and plan a sabbath this week.