Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the LORD has commanded you to do: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” – Exodus 35:1-3 (NIV)
We live in a world of busyness. We occupy our time and fill our empty spaces. We live without any margins on the pages of our story. We are desperately in need of rest. God is not unaware of this since He created us with work and rest in mind. But the world, and those who live in it, are broken. We don’t seek the kind of rest that heals and revives. The rest we seek is play. We find ways to escape from the busyness by doing fun things with fun people, returning from our vacation more exhausted than when we left. Rest seems far from us.
The Sabbath rest is a discipline of letting go. It is setting aside the day without any inclination toward accomplishment. It is about being and not doing. This is not easy for most of us. We have been taught that doing nothing is lazy, but slothfulness is an aberration where rest is the desire of God for His people. Israel began to learn this truth from the schedule He set with the manna and quail. As hard as they looked and searched, there was never any quail or manna on the Sabbath. Never. Yet, they always had enough to eat on that Sabbath day.
Teaching our children to rest may be a challenge, especially since we probably struggle with it ourselves, but it is invaluable to the life God desires for us. He has designed us to work certain ways and to operate within certain limits. When we exceed these limits we can burn out and enter into the growing army of perennially tired parents. We need margins. We need empty space…and so do our children.
Lord, help me to enter into Your rest and bring my children with me. Grow in me the discipline and desire for resting. Help me to show my children the beauty and power of unoccupied, unhurried time. Amen.