A busy, frenzied, and harried person who couldn’t sit still but always had to be on the go was asked “Why don’t you ever take a rest?” The answer was “because the devil never rests.” “Oh, I didn’t know we were supposed to be like the devil,” was the reply.
We live in a frenzied age of multiple addictions, not the least of which is a pell-mell pace that measures one’s worth by how busy and overbooked they are. This makes for problems. Exhaustion. Fatigue. Guilt over slack moments.Lack of perspective. Unreality with the things that really matter. Susceptibility to dumb ideas and thinking. And, even if the life isn’t lived in dreadful sin, it is an unfocused,blizzard like existence.
In Western civilization anyway, it is counter cultural to do otherwise. Much of the wonder of life has been lost. God is out of the picture. Money and success are on the throne. A horizontal perspective prevails. So the theme of life is “Go! Go! Go!” even though the grave waits for all of us. In thinking about it, “Vanity of vanities” come to mind.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. I think that the happiest of people are those with a vertical orientation.They aren’t impressed with ungodly patterns of living. They march to a different drum beat.
This is where the rhythm of Sabbath-keeping comes in. The fourth commandment is the longest of all of them and ties Sabbath-keeping to honoring the One who “made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” And then it says, “He rested.” Doing likewise is the pattern for God’s people, one that binds us to the Living God in a way that nothing else can.
A theologian named Robert Barron argued that “at the heart of original sin is the refusal to accept God’s rhythm for us.The essence of being in God’s image is our ability, like God, to stop. We imitate God by stopping our work and resting.”
May this blessed rhythm never get away from us. May we keep out-of-step with this dying world and in step with the God who made heaven and earth – and then rested.