We all have been a part of conversations where the main topic is how busy we are. It goes something like this. “Hey, how is it going?” “Oh, you know, it’s good, just been busy lately.” That’s it, that’s the conversation, and I would say most of us have said those words before. Talk about a pandemic, Americans are killing themselves through busyness, working themselves into stress that is detrimental not only to mental health but physical health, as well. This is a result of a variety of factors, culture, finances, peer pressure, and societal expectations to name a few. There is a lie that has been perpetuated, “the busier you are, the more important you are.” If you are busy, you must be working hard. If you are busy, you must be important. If you are busy, you must be successful. If you are busy, then you aren’t lazy. This is an issue that runs deep in our society. There is a fear that if someone takes a break, then they will fall behind, or even worse, never achieve success.
We sacrifice much at the altars of busyness to appease the gods of success and self-worth. The consequences are seen all around us. Our children are stressed out trying to pack their college applications with enough extracurricular activities to ensure some college admissions boards view them as worthy enough. Children pack their days with sports, theatre, or whatever else they can seek out the beloved college scholarship. All of this takes place while parents miss out on their children growing up because they are too busy putting in overtime trying to climb the ladder of success.
Think about all of the hobbies you have, and how many you get to do. Do you make time for them? Or how many times you have done something social, or have just sat and done nothing. When you sit and do nothing do you feel as if you are falling behind? Missing out? Do you feel anxious? Or maybe, you are simply feeling at the end of your rope but cannot fathom taking a day off. If that is you, and you are feeling exhausted and tired, I have some advice for you. Relax, and have a beer. Or read a book, sit on the deck in the sun, turn off the television or turn it on and watch something you enjoy. Go for a walk, sit and do nothing, take a nap, rest.
God commands it, after all. So often the third commandment is interpreted as the one hour out of the week that is dedicated to going to church. Yet, the Sabbath is so much more. It was intended to be an entire day of rest. Of course, sometimes it isn’t possible to take an entire day. There are other responsibilities and things that must be done, things that cannot wait. Yet do not overlook the importance of the Sabbath in your life. There are always things to get done, the list will never end. But the fact of the matter is that when you are tired, stressed, and worn down you will not love your neighbor the way you ought. You will struggle to fulfill your vocations to the best of your ability.
You’re not you when you’re tired. Knowing this, God invites us to rest. To rest in His presence in worship, where we are encouraged through the Word, forgiven for the times we snapped, and nourished by bread, wine, body, and blood. Yet, don’t let your Sabbath end there. It is okay to take a day to do nothing. You aren’t lazy. You aren’t unimportant. You aren’t unsuccessful. You’re doing what God has commanded, you are receiving a gift. So, put it on your calendar, “Sabbath rest.” Hold fast to it. It is good for you, and good for those around you. While it is commanded, it is God’s grace to you. So, relax, have a beer, recharge, take a break, and rest.