In the Bible, we read about something called the Sabbath. It was a day of rest. One day each week, God's people were to abstain from work.
They didn't stay in bed all day. It was a day for being with family, for worship and for recreation. It was a time for all the things that could get neglected during the regular work week. The principal goal of the day was rest.
Rest has a bad reputation today. For many, the word "rest" smacks of laziness and sloth. We live in an "always on" society, where people brag of their ability to multitask (which is another word for not concentrating on any one thing!). Our cell phones beckon us night and day. E-mails clamor for our attention. We want instant, we want immediate, we want everything done now. Where does rest fit into such a society?
If you're getting ahead of me, you probably think I'm going to propose that we return to one day per week of rest. While that's certainly a positive thing, I don't think it's enough. I don't think we should be satisfied with one day of rest. I don't think we should be satisfied with weeks or months of rest.
We should be seeking rest that has no end. In the Bible, the writer of the book we call Hebrews says, "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his" (Hebrews 4:9-10).
This isn't a one-day-a-week rest. It's a one-day-that-never-ends rest. He's talking about the rest we'll have when this life is over, the rest that we'll have with God.
That's the Sabbath I want. Not just one day. I want to come into the presence of God and know that I can forever turn off my cell phone, shut down my computer and enjoy being with Him. I won't have to worry about work or bills or retirement any more. All I will have to do is rest.
That same writer goes on to write, "Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience" (Hebrews 4:11). Sounds like a good goal, the same goal people had under the old Sabbath. The goal is rest, God's rest, the eternal Sabbath.
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