Funny how sometimes one gets reminded of something that is pretty obvious, nothing new – you’ve known it for a looong time – yet somehow managed to forget. At my church here in Madrid there’s a special focus on family this year and right now we’re spending ten weeks looking at the ten commandments and how they relate to family life, how incorporating them in our daily lives can benefit ourselves, our family, our relationships. Last Sunday it was time for the fourth commandment. It often surprises me how one can discover something new in such familiar passages – or see them in a different light. We read Exodus 20, 8-11
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (New International Version)
Ok, so its good to take a break. I know that – and I try not to work on Sundays =) But this commandment isn’t about how much work you can or can’t afford to do on a Sabbath or a Sunday – its about God wanting us to rest because he knows we need it. Working day after day after day is unhealthy. Makes us irritable, less patient, sloppy at work and in making decisions, makes it difficult to learn and remember and at some point your body usually forces you to rest – you end up sick in bed and can do nothing but sleep…So what does it mean to rest? When and how?
In the sermon, we were encouraged to rest physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- physically – sleep is a good idea for starters. Eating something other than canteen or fast food – treat yourself to something nice, take the time to cook (or get invited to a friend’s house if you can’t cook – hehe) Personally I think doing sports is a great way to relax – go for a swim, a walk, a run – play soccer, basketball or whatever you prefer…but overdoing it with sports would be rather counter productive =)
- emotionally – the things we ponder in our heads and hearts can wear us out more than we think. Its good to take time for oneself to clear one’s head and also good to chat with a friend and to make time for family. Its worth it using a time of rest to invest in quality time with people close to us. Whether its talking, doing something together or just havin’ a cup of tea =)
- spiritually – spending time with God because HE is the one that can truly give us the rest we need. He can give us peace and renew our strength. One-on-one time with God – talking, singing, reading the Bible, dancing…be creative =) and also spending time seeking God with other people, praising him together and encouraging and challenging each other.
Does it have to be on Sunday? No – there’s plenty of people who have to work on Sundays and the important thing to remember is that God invented the day of rest for OUR BENEFIT – not to annoy us or make life more difficult. Jesus said “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2, 27 in the New International Version)
I found it cool to be reminded of that because I’d felt a bit discouraged lately – felt like I had sooo much to study and no time for anything and that my head would surely explode any minute…I had been taking time off, but in those times of rest I still held on to the zillion thoughts in my head of what I had to do, what I had to learn, organize etc. This Sunday, I truly relaxed (yummy chillax pancake breakfast with my flatmate, watched a Disney movie =) had time with God…ok, cleaned up my room too but that was REALLY necessary…) and had a great Monday because of it – who would have thought =)