Do you enjoy giving gifts more than you enjoy receiving them?
If so, there’s a reason for that. It’s because it makes us feel complete and whole.
That feeling comes from God. God is a giver, and we are made in His image.
Because we are made in His image, we have purpose.
In Genesis 2:1-3, we find one of the earliest examples of this: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
And so God established The Sabbath after six days of work. He was the first one to celebrate it and declared this seventh day a period of rest.
Why did God rest? He didn’t need to, did he?
God gives us purpose, and rest is a part of that purpose.
Some of us work and work and work without taking breaks, and we tell ourselves that we have to or else the world around us will crumple. “I’m way too important to take a break.”
But God says, “It’s not healthy for us to continue burning the midnight oil seven days a week.” Rest is indeed for our benefit.
These first three verses of Genesis 2 have impacted your life, whether you realize it or not. I know they’ve impacted mine.
I grew up in a small town called Lowell, and there was a town nearby where all of the businesses were closed on Sunday. And there was a Subway that wanted to open a location in this town. There was an article in the paper about whether the town would allow Subway to open up shop, because Subway planned on staying open seven days a week.
God didn’t necessarily mean that every business needs to be closed on Sundays. We forget that God instituted this rest day for us. But it’s not strictly for us. When we have rest, we are more apt to be able to focus on Him and His desires for us.
If you never take a break, eventually, something is going to break on you.
See what I did there?
Whether it’s mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally—something will break on you.
If you need proof that rest is important, look no further than the Oregon Trail (no, not the game—I mean the actual trail).
The Oregon Trail was a roughly 2,000-mile route from Missouri to Oregon, which was used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers in the mid-1800s to emigrate west.
These pioneers would travel roughly 20 miles a day, but winter was looming and they knew they had to make it there sooner than later.
So, some of the travelers decided to follow the Sabbath and rest every seventh day.
The rest of the travelers insisted on pushing through so they traveled all seven days to make it to Oregon before winter.
Who got there first?
The six-day travelers. Why? Because they were well-rested and so were their animals, so they outpaced the everyday trekkers despite doing less work.
That’s called God math. It doesn’t make sense, and yet it makes perfect sense.
Because let’s be honest: you are not so important that you can’t take one day a week to rest. God instructs it in Genesis 2, but he also says it in the Ten Commandments: “Keep the Sabbath Holy.”
Sabbath doesn’t doesn’t mean that every seventh day you have to do absolutely nothing. Do something that fuels you. Do something that fills up your cup. It could be hunting. Maybe it’s having some downtime with your spouse. It could just be watching a movie. Maybe some Oregon Trail (the game—not the trail).
Take that day to refresh. And I guarantee the work will still be there waiting the other six days.
Jesus says it too.
In Mark 14:17, Jesus tells Judas: “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.”
What he’s saying is, there will always be unmet needs. There will always be matters to tend to.
But trust Him to take a rest.