By: Rick Warren
Our great-grandfathers called it “the Holy Sabbath”; our grandfathers, “the Sabbath”; our fathers, “Sunday.” But today we simply refer to it as, “the weekend.”
Do you feel rested after a typical weekend? If you are like most people, probably not. A friend of mine accuses me of behaving as if I were a “human doing” instead of a “human being.” We live in a world in which most of us understand exceptionally well how to work hard and play hard, but it seems that we have forgotten how to rest.
The word “Sabbath” literally means, REST. God provided the pattern for rest in His list of “values to live by” in Exodus 20. We know them as the Ten Commandments. Fourth on the list is the admonition to observe the Sabbath as a holy day. “But the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest before the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:10).
In His wisdom, God understood that given the opportunity, mankind would work itself to death – or play and entertain itself to death – but never recognize the importance of pausing to replenish our energies and reinvigorate our spirits. So He incorporated the command to rest in His top 10 rules for living.
Every seventh day, from God’s perspective – the point of view of the Creator – should be set aside for:
- REST: Frederick Taylor was an ambitious young executive in a large steel mill during the Spanish-American war in the 1890’s. In those days, there were no cranes to load steel bars onto the railroad cars. It was backbreaking manual labor. Taylor instituted a system where a whistle was blown after the men had carried iron for 12 minutes. They then were to sit down and rest. After three-minute rest, the whistle was blown again as a signal for the men to resume work. The result? The amount of iron loaded per day increased by an amazing 276 percent! Rather than wasting time, the required rest actually multiplied efficiency and productivity.
2. REFLECTION: “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3).
How can you know where you want to go unless you take time to look back on where you’ve been, realistically assess where you are, and then develop a plan that will take you where you want to go? Were you successful this past week in your work? In your marriage? As a father? In your personal life? Are you staying fit physically? How are you doing emotionally, or intellectually, or spiritually? We cannot even start to answer these questions if we continue to plunge into our daily activities, without giving ourselves the opportunity to pause and reflect on what we are doing – and why.
- RESTORATION: No battery will last for very long without being recharged. Elastic will lose its resiliency and strength unless it is allowed to return to its “un-stretched” state. Human beings are much the same. We need the stress of work, exercise, and pressure to motivate us, to keep us from vegetating. They help to give us purpose, meaning and direction. But we need regular periods of personal restoration – physically, emotionally and spiritually. We need to replenish our energy and clarify our vision before returning to the battle.
Edited and adapted from a column by Rick Warren. He is the author of the highly acclaimed, best-selling book, The Purpose-Drive Life, which has been translated into many languages and sold throughout the world. It affirms the importance of having a carefully considered, clearly expressed purpose to guide everyday life.
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