The mention of a Sabbath for God’s people in Exodus 16:29 is the first mention of a day of rest in the Old Testament since God created the earth. Later, Moses included a Sabbath — a day to rest from work — as part of the law for the young Israelite nation.
Rest is important. Studies suggest that we get our most original ideas when we allow ourselves to get bored, says Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s podcast, New Tech City. Zomorodi believes that less interaction with electronic devices — and consequently more open space in our minds — fosters more creative expression. As a result, the New Tech City team has launched a new project asking people to measure their smartphone use with a goal of intentionally limiting it.
Certainly Moses could not have foreseen the way in which today’s generation would be bombarded with information via smartphones and social media. He couldn’t have anticipated the electronic gadgetry that allows us to receive breaking news, hear about family crises or watch our nephew’s baseball game — all in real time from half-a-world away.
Fortunately, God did. And from the very beginning, He established rhythm to our days: Evening came and then morning: the first day (Genesis 1:5). Then, He established rhythm to our weeks: He rested on the seventh day from all His work … (Genesis 2:2).
A day of rest is not just a good idea. It is designed by God to give you a break to recharge, re-energize and refocus. Although solitude can be an important spiritual discipline, this doesn’t necessarily mean sitting quietly in meditation for hours at at time. Instead, for those extroverts who consider solitude a punishment — a spiritual “time-out” if you will — a “missional” Sabbath might mean taking a walk with your Hindu neighbor, inviting the Muslim family for lunch or playing tennis with your agnostic friend. “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath,” Jesus said in Mark 2:27. The idea is not to disengage from relationships on the Sabbath but rather to rest from our work while intentionally nurturing our relationships with God, our family and our friends.
So in the midst of all you are doing to make Christ known here and around the world, remember to intentionally unplug from your gadgets and rest from your work. Take a break and have some fun. The world — and your family — will thank you.
This week’s reading: Exodus 16-38
Post #6: Discovering how to live missionally through a chronological reading of God’s Word.