For the last few weeks, Brad has been taking us through the 10 commandments and exploring how God is expressing love through them to us, His people. Today he invited me to share about the fourth commandment.
Before I do, I want to make sure you know how to find us. We have conversations with each other, like this one, every Sunday at 10 AM in West Philadelphia. We would love to have you join the conversation.
Even God Gets Knackered
In London, where I’m from, we have a phrase that describes how I feel much of the time. Feeling “knackered” means you’re extremely tired, worn out, fatigued, and sleepy.
As a stay-at-home dad of two young kids, I’m constantly on the chase. I’m also a DJ in the evenings and a youth specialist at Mosaic. As you can see, I have a lot to feel knackered about.
The fourth commandment, found in Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV), has an important message for people like me:
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
I like to imagine God resting from creating the world. In my mind He’s sacked out in a Lazy Boy, with a cold beer in His hand, admiring what He’s made. As the fourth commandment points out, when God did this, God was setting a rhythm for all of creation to follow.
We see that rhythm with the land. After many seasons of growing a crop in one place, the soil will become depleted. One solution is crop rotation, which allows the land to rest from its usual crops and the nutrients they leech and absorb nutrients from a new crop.
We Need Restful Rest
Humans experience the rhythm of toil and rest too. Our challenge is not dissimilar from the challenge farmers face with crops. We have to find the things that fill us and create space for those things in our lives.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where there are incredible pressures to work longer and harder. We as a society have tipped the scales heavily towards our work lives and away from our resting lives.
Even when we find time to rest, it can be difficult to use it well. I’m not here to criticize how you get your rest. I just want to pose the question: Are you being constructive and getting the most out of your rest? Are you coming away feeling renewed?
For me, and I believe for many of us, technology has contributed to the lack of rest. I went through a period a few years back where I was experiencing insomnia and bad dreams. I realized after a time that it came from reading Facebook and news reports on my phone before I went to sleep at night. I was turning off the light and lying awake worrying about the state of the world, and my children growing up in it.
So I took a simple action. I went out and bought an alarm clock and placed it next to my bed. I left my phone downstairs at night. That one change paid dividends. My insomnia stopped, and so did my bad dreams.
God Loves Us
Our theme for this series has been how the commandments help us reset our patterns and find the good life. That’s the love letter piece. God yearns for us to thrive, and He knows we need help getting there.
Here are a few questions to help you get started:
Whatever you try, however you begin, my encouragement to you is to practice resting. It will pay dividends in the long run.
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