Taking a Break
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” —Exodus 20:8-10, NIV.
You remember the story about the camel, don’t you? Let him get his nose inside the tent and the next thing you know, the rest will follow. It would be a pointless exercise to analyze which of the commands of the Lord that we “cheat” on represents the “nose” of the camel. However, we don’t have to think very hard to realize that the whole beastie is pretty much occupying the tent these days. We could easily go down the list starting with “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) and be forced to admit how far down the slippery slope of disobedience we’ve come.
In vain do we argue that the Old Testament Sabbath isn’t our Sunday anyway. The point is that God requires us to take one day a week to rest from our normal labours and to dedicate to him. Period. We hardly manage to give him ninety minutes of our time before rushing off to do all that we didn’t get done during the six days prior to our New Testament “Sabbath.”
We blame society for the pressure we are under, for our social obligations, for the “need for speed.” Except for the fact that you and I ARE society, that argument might work. Under normal circumstances no one obligates us to break this commandment except ourselves.
God knows how much we need that weekly break. More importantly, God knows how much we need to focus on him instead than on ourselves. In a self-serving society this latter is especially hard—somehow it’s easier to take our breaks by ignoring him than it is to take our breaks by ignoring the fictitious demands of the world around us. Our internal spell check more often gives us “holiday” instead of “holy day” when it comes to what he asks of us.
Maybe it’s time to check to see how much of the camel is in the tent.