How many of you have ever said, “I’m too busy to take a break!”
A local physician often asks one of our staff pastors when they are there for an office visit, “So, what is stressing everyone out down at the church right now?” This medical professional has stated that she now prescribes more anti-anxiety medications than ever before in her practice.
In an article published by Newsweek on April 16, 2020 by writer Aila Slisco, Americans are taking 34% more anti-anxiety medications since the beginning of COVID-19 in mid-February.
We are stressed out! As a society we are mentally and emotionally exhausted from the constant barrage of information coming at us. When you pile on the never ending opportunities to compare our lives by the lives of someone else on social media and how the convenience of technology has become a stress-inducer laced with demonic negativity and fear instead of a stress-reducer, you can begin to understand.
We have bought into the lie that if we only add more to our already crazy schedules so we can accomplish more, then we will be happier, wealthier, and have better self-esteem.
We need to understand this truth. Just as God is triune, He created us triune. We each have a body, soul, and spirit, and our lifestyles are being satanically seduced to destroy us in our divine design.
- Physically we are working ourselves to medical problems and an early death.
- Emotionally we are stressing ourselves out and destroying our home and relationships.
- Spiritually we are drying up on the vine and becoming unfruitful. Waiting for Jesus to hurry up and come back to deliver us, not just from the wrath to come, but deliver us from ourselves!
We need to stop for a minute and consider a principle God has placed inside of creation….to be healthy and productive, everything must take a break and recharge!
- For your body to reach optimal conditioning, your muscles need to be stretched and challenged by activity, but then given sufficient time to REST!
- For your mind to be creative, the brain must have DOWN TIME!
Leonardo da Vinci said, “”Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.”
I’ve read where leadership expert John Maxwell placed a chair in his office and called it his “Thinking Chair.” He would spend a specific amount of time each week simply sitting in the chair letting his mind download, relax, and become creative again.
If that is true for our body and our mind, how much more vital is it for our spirit? To be strong, mature, and nourished spiritually we must have alone time with our heavenly Father. Even Jesus would often stop in the business of His earthly ministry and slip off to a quiet place to be alone with His Father. Let’s be real. If Jesus needed time away from the distractions to be alone with the Father, so do we!
Here is the good news: God has already given the answer to much of the problems we have in regards to stress, fatigue, and spiritual exhaustion. It’s called the Sabbath!
Exodus 20: 8, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates. 11 For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.
Break down the Verses:
- Remember = “Requires Action. To Take Responsibility.”
- Sabbath = Hebrew – ‘Sabbat’ – “Stopping, Cessation” The Stopping Day.
- Holy = “Set Apart”
- For the LORD made… = God gave us the example.
The Sabbath is a BLESSING, not a BURDEN.
Unfortunately, we almost lost the gift of the Sabbath. Why? Because if left up to us, we naturally try to make God fit our box of limited understanding and try to control Him – just like an idol. Think about the Pharisees of Jesus’s day. They took 10 Commandments and over a 400 year period between the OT and the NT, they developed 613 Commandments.
For years, people have argued, “What day is the Sabbath?” “Is it Saturday or Sunday?” “Can I go to a restaurant on Sunday?” “Can we cook on Sunday?” We made a specific day of the week our focus instead of the purpose of the day. We missed the reason for the Sabbath and have walked on the edge of idolatry.
Sabbath is a stopping day. A day when you stop your work. A day when you pull away from those issues that stress you. Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean a lazy day, but a day when you don’t work on your vocation. It is a time to refresh your body, your mind, and your spirit. Even in the Jewish culture, animals still had to be fed and milked which wasn’t sin. Jesus said, “If your ox falls into a ditch on the Sabbath, get it out” (Luke 14:5).
One day, Jesus and His disciples were walking through a field. Since they were hungry, they started picking grain to eat. The Pharisees saw Him and accused him of sinning. Did they sin by breaking the Sabbath? NO! Instead, Jesus summed up the purpose of the Sabbath in one statement.
Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2: 27, CSB).
Give yourself permission to take a break and get alone with your Heavenly Father. You will be amazed at how He will refresh your body, mind, and spirit!