One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:23-28
Sabbath rest is important. It is so important that God made a rule about it (see the fourth commandment). Yet God did not do this to be cruel and harsh (follow the rules and regulations or you perish), rather God understands that we humans need to stop. We need to take a break. We need rest.
Over the past week I was on Study Leave. I spent time in prayer and meditation, I wrote, I planned and I rested. I did not set an alarm, got up when my body said “wake”, spent the mornings in study and work, spent the afternoons in nature and the evenings reading. It was a wonderful rhythm and one sorely needed.
As I got back to the grind on Monday, I began my normal routine (except for the Monday Morning Meditation!), and realized something important. I need to follow Sabbath.
Taking this important time is precisely for the reason Jesus stated, The Sabbath was made for us. It was created precisely because we need that time away from work and time with each other and God.
If you do not practice Sabbath-taking, do so. If your Sabbath is rule infested (don’t do this, don’t do that), relax it. Spend time with God, with family, with friends. Go for a long walk, ponder the mysteries of the universe, get some rest.
And do it routinely.