Americans are in tragic need of a de-stress. Eight long years part-time employment, income, jobs, high oil prices, ever-increasing food costs, failed plans and both national and international terror threats put us all on edge. Now that everyone is back at work, we are overworking to compensate for lost time.
The Bible has an app for that
It is called “keeping the Sabbath holy.” But how many of us take one day a week to flat line our lives? Not many. It is important enough to be in the 10 Commandments along with not committing adultery and theft. It’s a day of rest where the mind, body and spirit close the door on daily life and “does something else.”
It is not as legalists would have us believe a time to be sanctimonious and pretend to be holy. Being part-holy is work enough. Even the non-religious world is beginning to catch on to that.
High Schoolers reduced crime and stress with a Time Out
One high school in the USA has two breaks a day – 15 minutes each, morning and afternoon. Instead of depriving kids of instructional time, they learned that conflicts, fights, and tardiness all decreased and grades went up. If there is anyone in this world who is on edge it’s the teens. But can we do it? Will we do it? More importantly do we know why we must do it?
Trying to trap Jesus with a question
When Jesus was asked about this issue He said, “Sabbath-keeping is not God’s issue, but man’s.” From the original:
Mark 2:27 (ERV) Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath day was made to help people. People were not made to be ruled by the Sabbath.
God has no need of a giant rest – man does so He created the Sabbath for man’s benefit. If it is such a valuable benefit why are we not doing it? And what will it take for us to restructure our lives to make things better?
Any day can be a sabbath
In the first place, it does not need to be Sunday. Many people work weekends, esp. ministers and they take Monday off which usually is the preferred day for golf anyway. Keeping the 7th day (or at least one out of 7) holy does not mean you are to spend your entire time in prayer. Legalistic believers might think that, but if you know any Jews, you know they celebrate after service with a giant meal and spend the time chatting, no work, no study, only the farm animals get milked and foddered, and if your ox fell in a ditch you are to get it out. (And if your car breaks down, yes, get it fixed.)
In other words, it is not a matter of what you do, but what you don’t do.
You don’t figure out your taxes, you don’t visit people you can’t stand, you don’t undertake a business venture or a 2nd job, or file paperwork for a new house, or hire an employee, or workout if you hate exercise. It is your day to be you and to let other people be themselves too. No extra stuff on the kids, no heated arguments over politics or which bill to pay this week.
An end to all activity is not the point
Babies need feeding and diapering, but other than that, take that long bath and let someone else play with them. My grandpa played cards with me on Sunday, and he never went to church. His mother took him 4 times a week and he calculated that he’d therefore been enough times to suffice for an entire life of Sundays, but I never saw him do evil to anyone, or cheat, or lie, or sneak off with another woman.
There are times when our time is not our own
Grandpa did work 364 days a year during World War 2 as Labor Relations Manager for a ship building corporation. War is different. You have to fight it no matter when it occurs. In North Texas 5,000 people attend one church on Saturday afternoon and then all day Sunday they eat together. The oldest member of one Sabbath-keeping family I know is 88 and she looks 65!
Health is a reward for a day off
The results of being obedient to God have all kinds of benefits. Most benefits are unseen. Instead of saddling yourself with yet another New Year’s resolution you will probably drop soon enough, why not take this idea on – one day a week for total rest. Select February as it has only 28 days and see if you don’t notice a change.
Do it as an Experiment
Select a period of time and decide on a day when you will totally chill. Do this for at least one month. Make notes about your ability to solve problems during that time. Usually people who live more productive lives will tell you they take more time being calm. Quakers, for example, who practice silence as a religious rite, are known everywhere as more prosperous financially. Keep notes on what you are doing; no one has a perfect memory. And when you are done tell someone else.
You can give yourself positive reinforcement even if no one else does. If you ever said I can’t take a day off, rethink that. If you are not getting what you need out of life, somehow you must make life work for you.
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