The word Sabbath means "cease." Or maybe the Hebrew word for cease came from "Sabbath." Margaret Feinberg offers these insights in Wonderstruck.
Many Christians today have little sense of Sabbath. We believe that a different kind of activity qualifies as rest. So we return from vacation exhausted. Our days off are whirlwinds of birthday parties, soccer games, errands and dinners out. Every weekend offers a multitude of festivals, craft shows, parades, yard sales, 5ks and fundraisers. Save the date, five months out.
When do we stop?
There comes a time when we are forced to stop. Heart attacks make us stop. Injuries and illnesses make us stop.
But God commanded a stop day every week. Stop working, stop cooking, stop exerting, stop gathering firewood. Let your animals rest. Let your servants rest. Just stop.
It takes a lot of faith to stop. We have to believe that God will be able to handle everything while we don't. We don't really know (by experience) if he can or not. We don't let him. Our situation is different. Of course we can't stop. Work will pile up. We have to stay caught up.
But we never get caught up. We just reach the point -- preferably sooner, not later -- when we realize that some things just aren't that important. We can let them go. Maybe we can't control them anyway.
Old people don't get worked up over every detail. It's just because they are retired, right? Maybe it's because they are wiser. They take time to be still. They can think about what really matters. They've run the rat race and realized that it's an endless exercise wheel.
What if we learned to stop before old age? We could stop every week. For a whole day. That might be wise. If only God had told us about this...