Exodus 20:9-10 – 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 manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. (NIV)
Last spring, as I was paying for my plants at the local garden shop, I asked the gardener why my rose bush was so limp and lethargic. After a few questions, she assessed the problem. I had not let my rose bush go dormant over winter. I had brought it indoors greedily hoping to keep it blooming. In so doing, I had nearly killed it. As the gardener said to me, "Give it a rest. Everything needs a rest."
Rest. After one of those 68 hour weeks, when the heat is sweltering and the air conditioner just quit, when your kids have been sick, or worse, when the phone doesn't quit, and you've seemingly gone from crisis to crisis with barely a breather between, on those days, don't you just want a rest? When life gets so hectic that you're literally running — like a hamster running in a wheel; when the kids are pulling at each other — you know, places like their hair — or they're literally pulling at you to let them play soccer or hockey and you know the budget really won't stand it, when the phone rings and you are afraid to answer because you don't know who will be on the other end — perhaps an employer telling you to come in for only four hours next week when you need 40, or perhaps a bill collector, or an "ex" who is freaking out; when the "tyranny of the urgent" drives your days, don't you simply want to say, "Whoa! Stop! Just let me be. I want a rest!" When the "tyranny of the immediate" escalates to crisis proportions, that is when the words from Exodus 20:9-10 begin to come clear with the clarion call of common sense.
Rest. The Sabbath. That was God's plan to keep humanity from suffering from our own propensity to live a high-blood-pressure lifestyle. The old laws about Sunday closing really did have some sense behind them. They were there for our protection, not to restrict our true freedom. Rest is a precious commodity these days. We get so little of it when the bossy "bottom line" drives us so relentlessly. The "bottom line," also known as the "almighty (half?) dollar," isn't so almighty these days! In the past, the tyranny of the dollar has fostered devaluing of human beings. That, in turn, has led to oppression, injustice, moral depravity, disregard for basic decency, and abandonment of godly living. Dishonesty. Cheating. Working the angles. Tilting the scales. Taking advantage of the poor, the needy, the orphans, and the widows, this the Lord God Almighty despises. All this suffering comes just because the tyranny of the immediate is allowed to dictate our value system. If the tyranny of the urgent is driving you mad, may I suggest you take a step back and re-assess your value system? Then try the Bible way. Go to the church of your choice. You just might find yourself off the treadmill and on the road to true happiness.
Prayer: Almighty God, I come in Jesus' name to ask forgiveness for abandoning your way and going my own. I ask for the Holy Spirit to enable me to change my lifestyle. Bring me into your rest. Amen.