Summary: We respond to God’s grace and nurture our relationship with God by observing a day of rest. The world can get along without our involvement (for a day).
Exodus 20:3-11 “The Gift of Rest”
We have a problem. A lack of sleep among the U.S. workforce is costing approximately $411 billion and losing 1.2 million working days per year, a new study has found. The study also found that that a person who sleeps on average less than six hours a night has a 13 percent higher mortality risk than someone sleeping between seven and nine hours.
U.S. workers are using only 77 percent of their paid time off, according to the research group's report released Tuesday. And the decline is not just tied to recent economic worries; use of vacation days are at their lowest point in the past four decades. In 2013, U.S. workers took an average of 16 days of vacation compared with 20.3 days in 2000, according to the report.
The Lord has given us the precious gift of rest. God’s words are to “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” Yet, we disobey the command and ignore the gift.
THE BLESSED GIFT
After the Lord created everything, God looked upon the creation and said, “It is good.” God went beyond that, however, with the gift of a day of rest. God not only created seven days, but God also blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it
In a sense, the gift of rest is a gift given to all of creation. All living things have periods of rest—sleep or hibernation. The world has its seasons of rest and of growth. We’re going against our very nature when we deny ourselves the gift of rest.
A day of rest is a time when we can refocus, or at least take our eyes off the items of everyday life and pay attention to the God who created us. This is a time for us to nurture our relationship with God.
We all know how important spending time with others and building relationships with them is. One of the greatest contributors to marriage break ups is that there was a lack of time spent with each other, communicating and nurturing the relationship. In much the same way, it is difficult to feel close to God or to sense God’s presence in our lives, if we do not spend time in God’s presence through prayer, meditation and devotional reading.
WE NOT INDISPENSABLE
It has been determined that one of the reasons people don’t take vacations is that they believe that their jobs cannot be done by anyone else. In other words, they believe that they are indispensable.
Observing a day of rest, reminds us that we are not indispensable. We are members of a community. We work in cooperation of others, and we do things together. The community works together so that we can take time to rest.
We are also finite individuals. There will come a time when we will die. Our family and friends will grieve, but the world will go on.
GOD WILL PROVIDE
To take a day of rest is also an act of faith. It reminds us and tells others that God will provide. We do not need to be working 24/7 in order to survive.
God is the one who provides our daily bread. We realize that most of the time this is a cooperative effort. Still, we believe that all of life is a gift and that it is the Lord who give us food, clothing, home, family and shelter.
When we rest in God’s hands we are reminded of God’s loving care. The Lord is our protector and provider.
The Sabbath is not meant to be “one more thing to do.” Rather, it is a gift that is freely offered to us so that we can experience it and enjoy it.