I’m tired, but who isn’t? I am, after all, a soccer dad. I own a man-van that is full of grass from various fields across North Carolina. My weekends are not my weekends. They were before my kids. Now I spend an inordinate amount of time on an uncomfortable lawn chair from the local sporting goods store. I feel like soccer has become my side hustle, only I don’t get paid. Actually, it costs me time, money, and sanity. Did I mention I’m tired?
Genesis 2:2-3: “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
When I signed my son up for soccer, his coach pleaded with us parents to make sure our children were in “soccer shape.” I’ve been in a lot of shapes in my life, but never soccer shape. I later learned that meant kids should be able to run…a lot…at a high rate of speed…without stopping. That doesn’t just happen. You need to practice. So one beautiful Sunday afternoon I looked at my son sitting on the couch with iPad in one hand and a remote in the other and said, “Son, why don’t you go on a run?” Parents tend to phrase commands in the form of a question to soften the blow. What I meant was, “Son, run. Now!” My twelve-year-old looked at me and said these words, “Dad, it’s the Sabbath!” It was a creative and funny way of saying, “No.” I paused for a moment and thought, “That’s cute. Now go run!”
The truth is we’re always running. Men can drive through life like we drive a go-cart. All gas, no brake. I wonder if our pace isn’t a recipe for spinout or wipeout. I wonder if my son, even if he didn’t know it, was on to something.
God rested. Let that sink in. He worked six days and then stopped. He’s called us to do the same. In the Bible, there’s some debate about the nature of the Sabbath. Do we have to keep the Sabbath? Some even wrestle with the actual day of the Sabbath. In all our talk about the nature of the Sabbath, we’re missing out on the principle of the Sabbath. Truth be told, we seldom say, “It’s the Sabbath!” Instead, we respond with, “It’s the Sabbath?”
It’s too bad we miss out on what God has given to us as a gift. One day Jesus was talking to the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees. They had missed the point of the Sabbath too. They didn’t ignore it. They had the opposite problem. They defined the day to death until it became nearly impossible to follow. He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
The Sabbath teaches God’s people a principle of rest. God has given you the gift of rest. He’s told us it’s okay to cease from accomplishing. It’s okay to stop producing. You can take a break from your laundry list of chores. You can rest. What do you do, or not do, that energizes you? What breaths life into you? Take time doing those things. Do something out of the ordinary. Or, do nothing. Rest. What you’ll notice is that God will still manage to run the world without you chipping in. For me, that’s a much-needed reminder.
The Sabbath teaches us a principle of worship. Remember, the Sabbath is created for man, not man for the Sabbath. The question isn’t “How can I spend a day wholly devoted to me with no thought of God?” The question is, “What does it look like for me to spend my days devoted to God?” So gather with people of faith. Bring your family together. Worship. Sing. Pray. Reflect. Be still. Read. And then run, jump, play and do so with your eyes, heart, and affections turned toward the Lord.
In our fast-paced world, it’s important to be still. God rested. So can you.
About the author: James Metsger spends his weekends driving his man-van around town from soccer game to soccer game. He also pastors a local church, Renaissance Bible Church, in Concord, NC.