“This is God’s Message. Be careful, if you care about your lives, not to desecrate the Sabbath by turning it into just another workday, lugging stuff here and there. Don’t use the Sabbath to do business as usual. Keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. They never did it, as you know. They paid no attention to what I said and went about their own business, refusing to be guided or instructed by me.  But now, take seriously what I tell you. Quit desecrating the Sabbath by busily going about your own work, and keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing business as usual.” Jeremiah 17:21-24 (MSG)


When was the last time you told someone that you were busy? Was it yesterday or just five minutes ago? Busyness is a characteristic of “normal” life. We have to work, run errands, go to birthday parties, spend time with the family, attend church, and the list goes on.  If someone asks how your day is going, many times our response is, “It’s busy.”

When we are used to going all of the time, the idea of rest can seem foreign to us.  In the logical mind, it would seem that the more you push forward, the more progress happens.  However, God knows something about rest that we have a hard time understanding.  It is quite simple, though.  We need time to pull away from the rat race of life and simply be. In Jeremiah, God was warning people about not taking a rest. He mentions that their ancestors didn’t observe a day of rest, which shows us that it is a human struggle to put work aside and just be. We want to use our day of rest as a bonus day for all the things we couldn’t get done. Yet, when we do, it’s still difficult to accomplish all of our tasks, and we become more worn out than before.  God gives us enough grace to accomplish our work 6 days of the week.  Maybe we could start looking at the “Sabbath” or day of rest as a gift back to Him. So before you legalize the Sabbath and become more restricted, think of it as a day for rest, reflection, and enjoyment. And, when you start to practice it in your life, the word “busy” might seem less like a constant companion.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.