Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God...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.
Catchy title this week, huh? Rest in peace. So, I’m just wondering: why is it that we save that advice until we’re dead? It may be just me, but I’m convinced that when I die, I’ll be running around in heaven like a maniac, hugging people, singing and dancing...I know there will be a peace, but I don’t picture myself resting. I’ll be too excited! Actually, with the crazy and fast-paced life I’m sprinting through on this earth right now, I think “rest in peace” would be more sound advice for me in this moment!
My daughter sent me a text one night from youth group (I know, but at least it was a bible verse, so we’ll count it as a win). It was the verse listed above, where God is giving the 10 Commandments, and He talks about keeping the Sabbath holy. So the conversation goes as follows:
Girl Child: Yeah. You see that? That means Sunday is a SLEEP day. Not housework day. Just sayin ;).
Me: You just givin the Lord your best...SLEEP on His day??? I see how you are.
Girl Child: Hey! He said to rest, sista. Rest. Not work. (She gets her sass and humor from her father, I swear.)
Me: *eye roll emoji* (It’s number 1 on my recently used list.)
So, although we may both have good intentions, we missed the mark on this one. I’m not a Bible scholar, but I’m pretty certain God did not mean “sleep the day away” any more than He meant “clean the entire house before people come over and see the pigs that you really are.”
My current bible study is called “Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath” by Priscilla Shirer. I don’t have enough time to really dive into the good stuff, but I’ll try to give you the short version of the Aha Moment. She says that God was intentional in His creation, even down to resting on the seventh day. He was actually creating rest for His people, and with it comes “tranquility, serenity, peace, and repose”. You know what this means? That rest is not just stopping an activity. It’s a state of being at peace. I don’t know the last time I was at peace in my rest. Even when I lay down at night, my brain is still on overdrive. My body may take a break, but my mind and soul are still restless. My rest is not really rest at all!
So my daughter was right about one thing: I should not be working and slaving away on the Sabbath. Well, she may have been right about two things, because I don’t think there’s any harm in a Sunday afternoon nap (praise Jesus)! But my rest needs to be intentional; I should take that time to rest and be at peace, and the only way I can do that is through communing with God. Instead of resenting the fact that I am “wasting valuable time” and not getting stuff done, I should carve out some time for peace-giving, restful things, like listening to worship music or sermons, reading a Christian book of some sort, meditating, or even spending positive, quality time with my family. That’s communing with God, too! If I learn to use the Sabbath in the way God intended, it will not only strengthen my relationship with Him, but it will give me real peace and tranquility in my soul, which can only help me in this crazy life. So don’t save REST IN PEACE for the tombstone--tattoo it on your bicep, print it on a t-shirt, and embroider it on a pillow. Let it not be an empty epitaph, let it be words to live by. Hey friends, have a great week--and rest in peace!