Rest, Remember, Refresh
Fatigued. Overworked. Exhausted. Stressed Out. These words and others similar to them describe the human condition in which many people live. Day after day, work and toil take precedence in the lives of many. They fail to take advantage of the provision the Lord made for us at the completion of His creation-the Sabbath day of rest. He rested after the completion of His work and that day was set apart for mankind to find rest as well. The early new testament church celebrated this day of rest following the completion of the work of Christ, thus marking Sunday as the day of rest under the new covenant. Over the years since then, various attempts have been made to alter this day given to us by the Lord. The communist regime abolished Sunday as a day of rest, but conditions deteriorated so severely that it was reinstated by Stalin. Napoleon established a ten day work week but had to go back to a six day work week. I was privileged, along with seven other men, to listen to Loren’s thoughts on this day at a retreat in Colorado Springs some years ago. The three things that he mentioned about this day was that it was a day to rest, to remember, and to refresh.
Rest involves a cessation of usual activities. It may, and often does, include other activities, but those in which we may find relaxation and enjoyment. It is a time set apart for mankind to leave what it normally does the other six days-regarded as work-and participate in that which is restorative to the body and spirit. It implies not only physical rest, but emotional and spiritual rest as well. People differ in what is restful and restorative for them. There are, for example, some things which I regard as work and in which I do not participate on Sunday. These include mowing the lawn, paying bills, and going shopping. As our young girls grew up, they noticed that we did not do some things that others did on Sunday and asked how we determined what we did on that day. We looked together at Mark chapter two where the Lord permitted his disciples to rub heads of grain and eat because it was a necessity that they have something to eat. We also looked at chapter three where acts of mercy were permitted in providing healing for the man with the shriveled hand. I did not realize how well they learned this until a few years later when we were on vacation for a week in the Ozarks. We had forgotten to pack any extra socks for me in our suitcase and after several days my wife asked me why I was wearing those red socks which didn’t match the outfit I was wearing that day. I replied that these were the only socks that I had. Over the next several days, our young daughters became increasingly grossed out by my wearing those socks day after day. We arrived at the plaza in Kansas City, Missouri on our way back on Sunday morning and I was promptly urged by our youngest daughter(about ten at the time) to go into a department store and buy some socks. When I replied that we didn’t shop on Sunday, she immediately said “Dad, you’ve got to buy some socks! For you it’s a necessity. For us, it’s an act of mercy!”
Lorne also commented that this day given to us was one in which we were to remember. The ten commandments were given twice, once in Exodus and again in Deuteronomy. In Exodus 20:8, we are told to rest because of creation. This day is set apart for us so that we may remember to worship and praise because of creation. Revelation 4:11 states “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” The practice of getting apart with our Bibles, acknowledging Him as our Elohim-the One who designed and created us along with all things-will bring rest as we remember all He has done. In Deuteronomy 5:12, we are told to rest because of redemption. Revelation 5:9-10 relates the following. “And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.’” We find rest when we remember, review and contemplate all that Christ has done for us.
Lorne continued his remarks, stating that we were not only to rest, and to remember, but that it was also a day given to us that we may refresh . Exodus 23:12 states “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do no work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed.” How did the Lord spend the day of resurrection? He refreshed them! Who would the Lord want you to refresh on this day? Those in your own household? Are there those who would be refreshed by a phone call, or even a text message? Is there someone who would be refreshed by writing them a personal note?
Rest. Remember. Refresh. These are the words by which Lorne would have us understand the gift the Lord has given in setting apart this day for us. The Lord says to us in Mark 2:27. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” It is in our rest that we experience His rest. It is in our remembering the glory of His creation and redemption that we know that He also remembers us. It is in refreshing others that we ourselves are refreshed. The Lord desires that we experience each week the full benefits of this day as He describes in Isaiah 58:13-14. “If you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
In Christ, Richard Spann