Rest is the way to avoid fatigue. If you know this, but you can not really rest, learn with this post how to put into practice the discipline of rest to overcome tiredness and get more energy for your day to day.
Versão em Português
Tempo de leitura: 7 min
This weekly rest day is called in the Bible sabbath. This word comes from the Hebrew shabbat which means to cease, to stop completely. Pay attention that the important thing here is not the day of the week that we call Saturday, between Friday and Sunday, but the concept of an exclusive day to rest after six days of work completed.
Rest: sacred or common?
John Wesley wrote that “the sabbath and the marriage were the two ordinances instituted in innocence, the first for the preservation of the church, the last for the preservation of mankind.” This is his commentary for the verse of Genesis 2:24
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one.Genesis 2:24
Note that the practice of rest is presented in the Bible before the institution of marriage, at the beginning of Genesis chapter 2. In the same way that marriage should be valued in the family, equally the day of rest. In fact, both are fundamental to the preservation of life, both individually and collectively.
By the seventh day God finished what he had been doing and stopped working. He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working.Genesis 2:2-3
Not just for the Israelites
This is not a suggestion but an ordinance for the man to rest after six days of work completed. Therefore it is a great mistake to regard the weekly rest day as an exclusive practice for the people of Israel. As God rested, he commanded the man to do the same. At that time, Israel did not yet exist as a people. There was no Mosaic law, which would remember this principle in the future (Exodus 20: 8-11). Adam and Eve were not Israelites. Therefore, the sabbath was not made for Israel alone, but for all mankind.
Would you like to do something common that God has sanctified? And if he rested himself, why would not you rest? Surely God did not need resting. But he practiced it to show its importance to mankind, and to enjoy the result of his work.
Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?Isaiah 40:28
The LORD is the everlasting God;
he created all the world.
He never grows tired or weary.
No one understands his thoughts.
Lord of the time
Just as the prophet Isaiah wrote that God does not get tired, Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man. And he also presented himself as the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus is not the lord of sin, sickness or anything bad. So it is clear that when Jesus proclaims himself Lord of the Sabbath, he is reaffirming the value of the weekly rest.
for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.Jesus in Mathew 12:8
Jesus was criticized for ministering healings on Saturday because of the envy and relentless persecution of religious leaders. He made it clear that Sabbath is not an ordinary day for work, just as it should not be a reason for one person to judge another’s agenda. Rapha was warned in an elevator in Israel by pressing the button, choosing our floor in the hotel, instead of waiting for the elevator that would stop in all the floors by being Saturday. Do not care what people are talking about you and your values.
Although I prefer to start my rest on the afternoon of Friday to Saturday, I often need to work on weekends, and rest one day during the week. This is increasingly common in contemporary society. Everyone should take care of their own agenda. In fact, the idea of the Sabbath was never one to watch over the other but each one takes good steward of their own time.
Time is more important than things or places
God is above the concept of time, but he chose time to reveal himself to mankind and also to show us the boundaries set in that relationship. Throughout the Bible you will see that men and women in their walk with God have always moved from one place to another. But the revelation of God and the commitments between him and humanity are always related to the concept of time, not places. We observe this in the biblical festivals marking special occasions, for example.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, an Austro-American rabbi, noted very well that time is more important to God than things or places. Pay attention to this. When you look the Bible at the opening of Genesis, everything starts “in the beginning” pointing to a time of initiation. At the end of the Revelation, we have God presenting Himself as the “Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End,” referring again to the idea of time.
Temples and cities are destroyed. But God chose an abstract concept as a roadmap to our relationship with him, time. And in this context, the day of rest has a special meaning. Many, however, go ahead simply by ignoring the opportunity for rest, and suffering immeasurable harm.
A gift of time
Bonnie Saul Wilks in her excellent book “Sabbath, a gift of time” says that you need to stop to go forward. What some call the superstitious practice of laziness is shown by Bonnie as a link between successful generations. She also highlights three purposes for the observance of the shabbat:
- A ceremonial celebration for the Israelites to remember their redemption from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 13: 1-16);
- A ceremonial celebration honoring God as the Creator of the Universe in six days and his rest in the seventh (Genesis 2: 1-3);
- A glimpse and foretaste of the “Age to Come” (Ezekiel 36: 16-38)
I highlight the second item in a practical way. The shabbat goes beyond the benefit of recharging its energy. It serves as an opportunity to glorify God. This is the most important thing in the life of every human being. Whatever you do to glorify God will help you greatly, bring well-being and blessings to your family.
Practicing the discipline of rest
See below how to put this discipline into practice in your life and with your family. Remember that you must take the first steps and the next ones will be facilitated. Like any discipline, it is important for you to understand that small habits will pave the way for them to be more constant in the future. Expect results with the consistent practice over time. And then you will enjoy the benefits of weekly rest.
- Prepare yourself for the weekly rest day. In a very practical way, go buy groceries, tidy your house, take out the trash, prepare the food and …
- Complete your work. There is no rest without completed work. Much of the value of the shabbat lies in completing what you need to complete. And if you do not, you will not be able to rest. There is nothing worse than weight in consciousness for an ignored responsibility. Lastly…
- Do not let others dictate your agenda. Again, do not care about those who might criticize your values. Soon, they will be inspired by your discipline and the results of it for your family. Sit down at the table, pray with your family, eat together. Enjoy the shabbat as a gift of time to your family.
A sacred ritual
The father plays a greater role in this responsibility. He must learn the way of this discipline. And as an example, he will have the opportunity to minister to his spouse and children words of blessing and empowerment for each new week.
There is a timid but real awareness of the value of the shabbat ressurging around the world. This sacred ritual for the family will consolidate values and maximize your time and energy. Therefore, I invite you to take the first steps and start putting this discipline into practice in your life and later in your home.
Prayer: God, thank you for giving me a day of rest for every six days of work. I acknowledge your kindness and love in instructing me to a life of well-being for myself and my family. Please help me to prepare myself and to put into practice the discipline of rest this week onwards, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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