I take almost every Friday off from work each week. I work on some Saturdays and every Sunday, so Friday is my day off. I write these words on Thursday and just schedule them to post on Friday. I need this day each week to refocus and refresh. You might need to be reminded that taking a day off was God’s plan. Genesis tells us that God created the world in six days on the seventh he rested. God took a day off, and he set a precedent for people for the rest of time.
In the New Testament Jesus was always confronting Sabbath customs and traditions. At one point, he makes an interesting statement that is good for all of us to hear.
Mark 2:27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (New International Version)
Jesus states that a day of rest was created by God for the good of mankind. There was not one special day, and man was created to celebrate it, rather it was the other way around. The simple truth is that everyone needs a day off each week.
With all that said, let me offer a few thoughts.
1. Schedule a Day Off and Keep It. Put it in your calendar and schedule it like any other appointment. I put it on mine and have learned to say no to anything that tries to interrupt. I have had people ask me if I was busy that day and I said yes. When they asked, what was going on, I just told them I had an appointment. I did not say my appointment was with my pillow.
2. Don’t Neglect Worship for Rest. The next verse in Mark 2:28 states that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. It seems odd to try and honor God by resting and then skipping worship of Him. If your day off is Sunday, then I encourage you to worship as a family and then go out and do something you enjoy, even if that is just taking a nap. The God who made a day off for you wants you to remember him as your Lord each week.
3. Rest as a Family. Please, please, please do not give into the pressure of having your children in every activity that comes along. They need downtime too. And you need to spend time with them. Plan a board game, maybe grab a pizza, catch a movie, do an outdoor activity like fishing or hiking, or do one of a hundred things. Spend your down days getting closer to the people you love.
4. Plan Ahead. Sometimes I have to work extra on Tuesday or Wednesday for me to have Friday off. Sometimes my wife cooks meals ahead of time so that she does not need to cook. When football season is on us for eight weeks, we try to have a plan by Thursday night for what our day off brings. Think through your week so that you can maximize your rest and enjoyment on your time off.
5. Let Go of Guilt. It is easy to feel guilty for taking one day a week and accomplishing nothing on your to-do list. We have all this pressure to do this and that every day. We think we need to be the perfect spouse and parent. We give in to the pressure of trying to do everything to make everyone happy. I want you to know that God in heaven wants you to rest. Listen to him and forget anything the other voices tell you.
I take a day off without any work each week. I no longer make excuses for it or feel embarrassed by it. God wants each of us to rest. You need it. I need it. Fight hard this weekend to keep rest as part of your life. You can thank God and me later.