There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God. –Hebrews 4:9 (NIV)
Do you ever feel frustrated that there “just aren’t enough hours in the day”? I once saw a mug that read, “I Need an Extra Day Between Saturday and Sunday.”
According to psychcentral.com, the phrase “Hurry sickness” entered the English language in 1985 with the book Type A Behavior and Your Heart. Although it isn’t an actual medical condition, it’s known as a sense of excessive time urgency.
Psychologytoday.com tells us, “by definition, hurry sickness is ‘a behavior pattern characterized by continual rushing and anxiousness; an overwhelming and continual sense of urgency.’ As if that isn’t bad enough, it’s also defined as ‘A malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, and so tends to perform every task faster and to get flustered when encountering any kind of delay.’ Sound familiar?”
In contrast to our life and culture that keep getting faster and faster, the Bible commands us to enjoy a regular rest.
“But with all I’ve got to do, I can’t do that,” you say.
Maybe that’s why it’s in the Bible. If it came naturally, we wouldn’t need the Bible to tell us to do it. When one parishioner heard a Scripture teaching he didn’t like, he said, “Preacher, that rubs the cat the wrong way.”
To which the pastor replied: “Then turn the cat around!”
America and much of the world are experiencing a mental health epidemic, but physical health is declining in many places too. In vast swaths of the US, the life expectancy now is much shorter than it was during the Jimmy Carter years of the 1970s! Even secular scientists and researchers point to “a lack of rest” as a driving force for these ills.
Bible teacher and author Chuck Swindoll has said, if you find yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted, what you may most need is not more prayer, or more Bible study, or more church services, but more sleep.
Imagine taking one day off weekly, for no work, no shopping, no errand-running, no gadget-repairing, no social media or website browsing, no comparing yourself to others. And instead filling that day with rest, connection, worship, reflection, relationship, renewal, thought, exercise, planning, and prayer? Not as a “law,” but as an “invitation?”
Have you come to realize, God’s commands are not to keep you from having fun, but for your own good?