Today is my day of rest. I stay comfortable and still, as my mind and body heal from the little abrasions of the week. I generally watch something with my almost grown kids, love on my sweetie, eat well and nourishing foods. I dismiss the work that waits for me–it can wait one more day. Not taking a rest day, for me, is like trying to drive on a flat tire instead of taking the time to fix it properly–the car will go, for a while, but inefficiently and will eventually break down.
Taking a Sabbath is no longer a commandment for us, though. Jesus told us that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I think some people consider a Sabbath rest a mandatory thing, a have-to, and that is fine for them. That is where their conscience lies, and it is not anyone’s business to try to convince them beyond their conscience about which days are important and which are not
“4Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” Romans 14:4-8 NASB
For me, though, it is a gift. I think the Lord knew that we would tend to drive ourselves, employees, workers to the ground if He did not demonstrate rest. He offers us the assurance that taking one day off will not end the world. He offers us the assurance, also, that doing good on the Sabbath is acceptable.
I have found that a day of rest is beneficial to myself, my work, and my family. In fact, the more busy my schedule, the more important a Sabbath rest is.
I am tempted, at times, to say “But xyz is good too.”, but I have had to be stern with myself and say “Is this really to benefit others or me? Am I trying to earn money or am I honestly doing something charitable or necessary?”
For example, I work for a farmer in season. Only once in two years did I volunteer a 7-day week and that was an exceptional situation where crops needed to be in before a long line of storms. Even though I could earn much more money if I worked 7 days, and could justify it with “short season crops”, the toll on myself and my family would be too great. My purpose on earth is not to earn money but to love and give to humans, to lead them to Christ, and I can’t do that if I am exhausted and surly.
My Sabbath day sometimes floats. There are times when Saturday is not going to work and I need to take a Tuesday. My situation allows for that flexibility, for which I am thankful.
In any case, I have found a rest day an incredible gift from our Father Who KNOWS His children, knows their drive and limitations. He is in control of our lives, Lord over our finances and work, and still offers us a whole day to rest. If it was good enough for Him, it is good enough for us.
*Note: husbands, especially of young mothers (or wives who have a stay at home father): Your wife needs a day of rest too. Her hours are longer, more grinding than yours. The days are fraught with highly charged, often thankless work. Insist to your spouse and to others that she have a day to sleep in, where the nursing baby is brought to her at night instead of her letting you sleep, that you take the kids out of the house for a few hours (it wouldn’t hurt to have pre-purchased a little candy, perhaps a favorite movie, etc for her to relax with). Invest in your spouse’s rest and you will find that she will have much more peace and stamina the other 6 days of the week. Make it a priority of yours because, if you married a good, earnest person, she almost certainly will not make it a priority of hers.