In Jesus’ day there were lots who loved the law.
They loved it like a gun.
Jesus’ message was a bit different. He taught us that the whole point of the law was to help us better love God and better love each other.
Some have taken this to mean that there are now only two laws: love God and love each other–and however we end up doing that is okay.
But that’s not what Jesus was saying. He wasn’t doing away with anything, he was explaining the heart behind it all.
I recently starting taking a Sabbath day. That’s a full day of not working.
And…what do I do all day? Answer: whatever is fun and relaxing.
Let me backup—this is kind of a big deal. I’m a workaholic by nature. AA says the first step is to admit you have a problem. Most of my life, my stance has been: what problem?
But recently I’ve been running into a brick wall. And I couldn’t even work my way out of it. Slowly but surely, busyness has become a mask. I’ve let myself get consumed with the to-do list details so that I don’t have to address the bigger, harder questions.
And so, now, every week, I take a full day off.
Through this, I’ve seen two big things emerge.
Before, I used all seven days, and I still couldn’t get everything done. So you can imagine losing a whole day didn’t help. In my case, it made it so bad that I had no choice but to prioritize.
I heard someone say it like this. Make a top-10 or -20 list of everything you want to do. Put it in order of priority. And then draw a line under #3. Everything above the line needs to happen and everything below is just a bonus.
It’s surprising how freeing that is.
Stopping for an entire day not only takes practice, but it requires you to fill up your day in a totally different way. Before, every day was a continuation of the one before it. I was getting ahead on the small level, but I didn’t have time to “be still and know” God. It’s that personal level I was missing.
So part of my time I fill with reflection and refocusing. Like, why am I alive? What am I doing here on earth? What is God doing? What would he like for me to be doing? These questions sound scary. But in reality, their answers bring comfort and direction.
The rest of the day I spend having guilt-free fun. Resting or reading or watching a movie or doing whatever.
There’s one catch to all of this.
When we take a Sabbath, we’re trusting God to come through for us. That’s really what all of the laws are about.
Peter Scazzero, in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality says, “We stop on Sabbaths because God is on the throne, assuring us the world will not fall apart if we cease our activities.”
Here’s the catch: if you don’t trust that God really will take care of things while you’re out, then the whole “rest” thing probably won’t work.