Keeping Up with the MondaysBy Trillia Newbell | November 1st, 2012 | Category: Uncategorized | 5 comments
By Cap Stewart
I believe I’ve discovered a solution to a malady that infects countless individuals each week: “the Mondays.” You know what I’m talking about—after a weekend that is far too short, the burdens and stresses of the upcoming week foreshadow a daunting drudgery that will drag on until the next weekend.
“The Mondays” could be the sign of a larger problem—the fact that we are constantly on the go. Our to-do lists rarely allow us to take a break, and time itself always seems to be two steps ahead of us. Modern Western culture exists in a state of never-ending busyness.
The answer to the problem is both obvious and seemingly unreachable: we need time for rest. But time is already in short supply. How can we carve out enough of it to make a significant difference? I submit that God Himself has provided a solution. It’s called the Sabbath rest, and it’s the longest and most detailed of the Ten Commandments.
There’s still plenty of debate today on whether or not the Sabbath rest is still binding, and, if it is, what day of the week the Sabbath should fall on. But you might be surprised to learn that respected Christian authorities such as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, A.W. Pink, Tim Keller, and Donald S. Whitney (to name a few) have preached on the importance of the Sabbath. After studying the works of these men, searching the Scriptures, and completing a forty-post blog series on the topic, I have come to believe that the Sabbath rest is part of God’s moral law, designed for His glory and our good.
How does the Sabbath work for our good? If we’re honest, it sounds like just one more item to add to our already packed schedules. According to Jesus, however, “The Sabbath was made for man” (see Mark 2:27). In other words, God specifically instituted a weekly rest to serve us—to lighten our load, not add to it. The Sabbath provides us with numerous benefits.
Physical rest, a time to step away from work-related responsibilities, is perhaps the most obvious benefit of the Sabbath. It’s like a built-in vacation every week. Who doesn’t like that idea?
It isn’t enough, however, just to rest physically. Our minds don’t automatically enter a peaceful state when we rest. For many, mental activity continues long after the day is done. We can easily rob ourselves of sleep and relaxation by worrying about all the unfinished items on our to-do list. Many a vacation has been wasted because one’s mind has stayed at the office.
The mind must actively be directed to focus on what provides true refreshment, and true refreshment is what the Sabbath is all about. We can numb and distract ourselves with anything this world has to offer, but our souls can only find rest—and restoration—in God (see Ps. 23:3). As Saint Augustine said, “thou [God] hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee.”
Thus, physical and mental rest prepare us to enjoy spiritual rejuvenation. The Sabbath reminds us that we can rest in God precisely because He has done all the work necessary for our salvation. The writer of the one Sabbath Psalm in the Scriptures declares, “You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work” (Ps. 92:4). When we study the work of God on our behalf—especially through Christ—we position our souls to find joy and refreshment in God.
One of the biggest hurdles we have to overcome is our misconception of what is truly restful. We think that we need to maintain control over what we do in order to recharge our batteries. But Isaiah 58:13-14 tells us the opposite: it is in turning away from doing our own pleasure on the Sabbath that we move toward finding that which is truly delightful—namely, God Himself.
One small way my wife and I attempt to cultivate a desire for truly beneficial rest is by avoiding entertainment on Sundays—not because it’s inherently evil, but because it isn’t inherently restful. Vegging out in front of the TV may help pass the time, but we are trying to benefit from the time. And what better benefit can we have than finding more delight in God (Isa. 58:14)?
Without the right preparation, Monday mornings can be a drag. But once my wife and I began observing the Sabbath, we started looking forward to Mondays. We were refreshed after a “long day’s rest” and ready for tackling the responsibilities of another week. The Sabbath has proven to be an incredible blessing, and it continually points us back to the God “from whom all blessings flow.”
Cap Stewart is a videographer, freelance writer, and the Media Manager for a multi-state southeastern construction company. He and his wife Shannon make their home in Knoxville, Tennessee.