For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
When I was growing up, we observed “blue laws” that restricted what people could do on Sundays. But the purpose of the Sabbath isn’t to follow arbitrary rules; the purpose of the Sabbath is to benefit us. God gave us one day each week for our well-being.
God gave us the Sabbath for our physical well-being. You are not designed to work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In fact, doctors are discovering today what God told us three thousand years ago: people who constantly work lead the charts in all kinds of diseases. Scientific studies show a relationship between stress, workaholism, and disease.
But workaholics are the people who get things done, you may think. They’re the ones who make a difference. They’re so productive. That’s not true. People who regularly work more than fifty hours a week are prone to make more mistakes; they are less productive than those who show balance in their work. By the way, how do you know if you are a workaholic? Here are some symptoms of being a workaholic: inability to say no, constantly thinking about work, compulsive list making, work hours exceed forty consistently, giving up relationships, difficulty sleeping, and physical exhaustion.
God knew this all along. He wired us, and that’s why God designed a mini vacation for us to take once a week called the Sabbath. The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word Shabbat, which means “to stop, to desist, to resist doing.” On the Sabbath we not only quit work, but we quit even thinking about our work.
Notice in Exodus 20:11 the reason for the Sabbath. God said, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” At the end of six days, did God say, “I’m exhausted. This was a killer week, I’ve got to take some time off”? Did God have to rest because He was worn out? Or did God rest on the seventh day because He ran out of ideas of things to create? Think about it. Did God have to stop with the number of trees He made or the number of stars in the sky? He could’ve kept on going. It’s not that God created everything that could have been created, but He created everything that should have been created. In other words, a time came when God said, “Enough! I’ve done everything I need to do.”
By the way, think about the Lord Jesus Christ. On the cross He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Now I know Jesus was talking about the payment in full for our sins. But I think He was talking about more than that. Did Jesus do everything He could have done during His thirty-three years on earth? There were more sick people He could’ve healed. There were more parables He could’ve told. It’s not that Jesus did everything He could have done, but He finished God’s plan for His life.
And it’s the same way with us. There needs to be a time once a week when we say, “Enough! It’s not that I have done everything I could do, but I have done everything I need to do.” We need to remind ourselves that there is more to life than work. That’s why God says we need to take a Sabbath. We all need that time when we say, enough!
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Working Ourselves to Death” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.