Back in the 60’s, there was a Broadway show named, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off”. Sometimes that’s exactly how I feel. We live in an increasingly busy society. Life can sometimes come at you like a hurricane with no way to shut it off.
The simple life that we are told our grandfathers experienced is gone. And so are 25 cent loaves of Wonder Bread. The world we live in now is a cornucopia of multimedia events, opportunities, and attention grabbers, all vying for our concentration. At times it can feel like you are swarmed by a cloud of angry bees. Perhaps that’s what David meant in Psalms 119:83 when he said he felt like a bottle in the smoke.
We have more forms of entertainment these days than we can count. TV channels number in the hundreds, the Internet not only has millions of websites, it now has a Dark Net with an untold number of sites. Social media has so many contenders now that we have other websites just to manage our posts to them. We even need a separate software program to keep track of our passwords because there are too many to remember. When do we get to rest?
We are all aware of the problems of working too hard and not leaving time to shut off the switch. Remember the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy”? But to quote another saying, it is “easier said than done”. Our addiction to work has created an entire industry in psychology to deal with the results of avoiding our much needed rest.
From the very beginning of Creation, God established the principle of rest. Even God had to rest! And while that may sound heretical, perhaps God’s idea of rest is a bit different than ours, or perhaps He sees the necessity of it from a different perspective.
Obviously God wasn’t tired after six days of creation. Maybe He took that time to look back and appreciate all that had been created. After all, if you do not have a reason for all your work, what really would be the point of all that effort? Maybe there is a lesson here that work for work’s sake is little more than another false idol in our lives? And getting so wrapped up in our work shutters the ability to be able to see the things that are really important in life. Could it be said that we can not only work ourselves to death, but also miss the entire meaning of life?
The concept of rest, it seems, goes much farther than the absence of labor. If you look up the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as “rest” in the Bible, you will find a score of different words that are used, each with its own unique nuance.
Apparently, there is more to this word than a Sunday afternoon nap.
My personal favorite definition of rest, however, is about surrender. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to enter into our rest as we cease from our own works just as Christ did from his when He declared, “It is finished!”. To step into the true Sabbath of rest when we cease from our own works and surrender into the hands of God, may be the entire point of this little world.