“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 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, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” – Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Does the busyness of life really slow down in the summer? We often think it does, but I’m not so sure. At best, I think we take more solace in the fact that our routines change in summer more than that they actually slow down. We still manage to pack our schedules full in the summer!
However, the summer season is a popular time for family vacations, weekends at the lake, and other forms of rest that are conducive to the season. And that’s a good thing! I read an article recently that talked about the importance of a healthy rhythm of work and rest in our life. We were created by the God who demonstrated work and rest when He made the world. These verses in Deuteronomy 5 share God’s command to work and to rest!
Sadly, in the broken world and in our sinful natures, many of us struggle to heed God’s command to labor and to rest. We either work too much and fail to appreciate the value of rest, or we struggle with laziness and spend too much time “resting.” While laziness is certainly a concern and sinful according to God’s Word, in this fast-paced and dog-eat-dog culture in which we live, it’s often important for us to remind ourselves and one another to rest.
And to rest well.
One of the aspects of the Deuteronomy text above that I appreciate so much is that in the context of God’s command to rest, God reminds us of the freedom His people have in Him. Freedom from slavery brings a deeper and better rest than any weekend at the lake can hope to achieve. First and foremost, in Christ we are freed from slavery to sin. Related to that, we are also freed from the need to prove ourselves and find our worth and value in this demanding and fast-paced culture. Instead, we are free to do our work well to the glory of God and find all our worth and value in Him.
Additionally, the article I read explained that regular rest reminds us that God is in control, He cares for us, and provides for our needs. This truth relieves worry, especially when we do try to rest. If everything were truly up to us, we would never be able to truly unplug, and that burden would eventually crush us. Instead, the reality that God cares for us and meets our needs frees us trust in him, or as Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, to “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Vacations and other forms of rest are not exclusive to the summer season, but while we still have some summer left, find some time to rest, especially if you haven’t been able to do that yet this summer! God has given us a day for that every week, so use that time well to slow down, relax, and thank Him for His abundant care for you and the freedom you have in Jesus. If you are vacationing this month or spending a weekend away, rest well. Remember that God is in control and takes good care of you, so there’s no need to worry about what tomorrow will bring. And rejoice in the freedom you have in Christ. The freedom He bought for us on the cross brings that peace that passes all understanding. Rest in that peace.