Rest. In our modern day of 'go, go, go', we centre our lives around efficiency. Get the most bang for your buck; squeeze out productivity from every part of your day; if it does not yield a tangible result, it's not worth the time.
These mantras rule our mindsets, decision-making, and ultimately our priorities. As machines are developed to take over more and more of our daily tasks, I wonder if we have compared ourselves to them and found a lack. Like machines, we feel the need to be on during all waking hours, with the only off switch in our reach being sleep.
We disdain that we even require sleep, because if we just had those eight extra hours (or for some of us, five or six) we could just get so much more done! We have come to measure our worth by our ability to produce -- and not just in an abstract way.
We are constantly measured (at our jobs and by those around us) by metrics designed to determine our ability to accomplish. In the process, rest has lost all value and priority in our lives. Beyond the rest that we need to survive (sleep), we neglect it.
But if our physical health declines swiftly (to the point of death) without it's form of rest (sleep), what does that mean for our emotional health? What about our spiritual health?
The idea of a Sabbath
With this mindset ruling the roost, it is no surprise that the idea of rest, let alone the idea of a sabbath (a weekly set aside time to rest), has become entirely obsolete in our culture. It seems archaic, selfish even, to prioritize rest.
But as Christians, rest is something commanded to us. And even if our culture has moved on, we must not.
God rested. Because he is omnipotent, which by its definition means that he has limitless strength, this must eliminate from our minds the idea that rest is only for the weak. God is the opposite of weak, and He chose to rest.
So there must be some value in it beyond the obvious. Why did God rest? And why should we?
There is not an easy, one-line answer to these questions -- at least not one that I have happened upon. But I cannot help but think that if the God of the universe who made everything (which is a lot bigger than most of us realize by the way -- I just watched a documentary on Discovery Channel) took a whole day to rest, there is much more to it than can be written off in our minds with a basic, "rest is for the weak".
As much as it can feel impossible, and even irresponsible, to choose to take time to rest intentionally each week, will we trust Him when he says, "my ways are higher than yours and I have commanded this to you, for your sake"? Will you?
Tina Hakimi is an Arizona-raised, Arizona based writer shortly to commence medical school. She is passionate about the Word of God, scientific research, and how the two serve to strengthen and affirm one another.
Tina Hakimi previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tina-hakimi.html