I really, really like working out. I like going to the gym to work out with weights and machines and a track. I like to jog the 2-mile stretch from my house to the end of my street and back. I like to punch a hanging bag in my garage. I like to swim. Because I like to work out, I do it a lot, but I need to recognize when to take a break. Sometimes I don’t want to.
Remember the Sabbath Day
I do not think remembering the Sabbath day is all about remembering to go to church, visit shut-ins, or even do charity work. I think remembering the Sabbath day is also about remembering to rest.
The book of Genesis tells us that “On the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and mad” (v.2:2-3). Not only did God rest on that day, what became the Sabbath day, but He signified it as special. Then, in Exodus 20 when the 10 Commandments are presented to Moses, God instructs His people to “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy” (v. 8). It isn’t enough that we remember there is a Sabbath. I think God wants us to remember more than just the day Sabbath falls on. I think He wants us to remember to rest on the Sabbath.
Every week I will try and offer practical ideas for slowing down for the Sabbath, while still enjoying the people around us and maximizing the time we’re given.
I slowed down this Sabbath by visiting a local lake. We enjoyed time with friends, some boys who have been begging to go fishing. We kayaked across the lake, carrying small child after small child across one at a time for what seemed hours. We taught our 10-year-old how to row a kayak (now he definitely can’t wait for his first year at summer camp). When we weren’t untangling fishing poles, supervising multiple kids on docks and onshore, rowing kayaks, or changing diapers, we looked for four-leaf clovers in the grass.
We were busy, busy, busy. If you are a parent of small children, you know exactly what I mean. There is very little downtime and can be very little relaxation, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t rest.
I didn’t workout today, but I moved my body.
My arms will be sore tomorrow from rowing that kayak, but I spent my time on the lake thankful for the person who loaned it to us.
I am sunburned and tired, but I was thankful for the beautiful weather and the warm, healthy sunshine on my skin.
I got frazzled and worn out from running after children, but I am thankful for their safekeeping. I was blessed by the joy on their faces as they caught frogs and fish on the lakeshore with a net or a fishing line.
I was interrupted time after time during adult conversation, but I have five four-leaf clovers to go with the memories of the kids jumping up and down with the little green plants in their fists.
Ideas for Active Rest
If you’re an active person it may be difficult to slowdown on the Sabbath, but it is possible and it is worth it.
Go for a hike. Kayak or boat. Walk your neighborhood or a community trail. Head to a field with a kite. Toss a ball around. Plant some flowers or work in your garden. Rollerblade, bike, or skateboard. Swim. Stretch. Throw a frisbee. Climb a tree. Climb a rockface. Pick flowers. Snorkel. Build sandcastles. Build a shelter in the woods.
The possibilities really are endless, and God gave us lots and lots of Sabbaths to enjoy. Don’t let another one pass you by before you head outside and move your body for some active Sabbath rest.