The Bible gives us at least five tips for how we can manage our time in a God-honoring way. In this post we’ll at the fifth.
Tip #5: Observe a Sabbath Day’s rest.
If you want to manage your time in a God-honoring way, taking a weekly Sabbath Day’s rest is a must! Now some people sadly have the wrong view of the Sabbath, which is why they don’t observe it. You see, some think the Sabbath is a duty instead of a delight. Some think it’s a burden, instead of a blessing. Some think it’s something they have to do instead of something they get to do. In case that’s you, let me help you out by sharing with you what the Sabbath was to those who originally were commanded to observe it.
Imagine with me how excited the Israelites must have been when they heard the news that they would get one day a week off to rest. When they got this command they were in the desert, having just left Egypt, where they were slaves, working about 16 hours a day 7 days a week.
- Exodus 1:11 – They were oppressed with forced labor. Against their will they built cities for Pharaoh.
- Exodus 1:13-14 – The Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
- Exodus 2:11 – They were often beaten by their slave drivers.
- Exodus 2:23 – The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out to God.
- Exodus 3:7-9 – The Israelites work is described by God as misery, suffering and oppression.
- And once Moses came and ordered Pharaoh to let God’s people go Pharaoh made the work even harder by ordering that the Israelites now collect their own straw to make the bricks, whereas before they were provided with it.
It was to this people, used to working these kinds of hours in these kinds of conditions that God said “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath (literally a cessation). On it you shall not do any work…” (Exodus 20:9)
You see, the Sabbath was given as a gift! This is why God said in Exodus 16:29, “Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath…” It’s a gift! So it’s not “Do I have to?”, rather “I get to!” This is what Jesus was getting at when he said in Mark 2:27 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” In other words – the Sabbath wasn’t meant to be a duty, rather a delight. It wasn’t meant to be a burden, rather a blessing. So if the Sabbath is anything other than an absolute delight, you’re doing it wrong! It’s not an obligation, rather an opportunity to rest and relax and catch your breath and recharge and spend time with your family and friends, etc.
We’re so afraid that if we take a day off the world will fall apart – that we’ll fall behind – but quite the opposite is true. The Sabbath is a way to get ahead, not fall behind.
- Did you know that when Google discovered the findings that 63 billion a year is lost in worker productivity due to workers being overtired they installed sleep pods throughout their offices so workers could take a 20 minute nap when needed? You see, when people don’t stop to rest (in order to be more productive), the exact opposite happens. Some think Google is advanced for taking this approach, but this concept of resting to be more productive is an ancient principle that’s been in the Bible for thousands of years. It’s called the Sabbath Day’s rest – and you ought to be observing one weekly!
- Last year I was on vacation in PA when we stopped at a Cumberland Farm’s type place. While waiting in line to order a sandwich, I overheard the lady behind the counter apologizing to the man in front of me because she got his order wrong. While apologizing I heard her tell the man, “I haven’t had a day off in 9 days.” When it was my turn I placed my order with the same woman. When we got back in the car and started divided up the sandwiches my buffalo chicken grinder was labeled chicken salad…Well, that’s what happens when you don’t rest! Without rest the quality of your work suffers! God didn’t make us to go, go, go without taking a break. Friends – when all you do is go, go, go there’s this law of diminishing returns. That is, without rest, you yield less. Now personalize that and say it in your mind: Without rest, I yield less.
Yes we need to budget our time and determine our priorities. Yes we need to learn to say no and regularly prune our schedules. But at the top of our list of ways to honor God with our time management needs to be the Sabbath. It’s the most important one, which is why I’ve saved this post for last!