THE CHALLENGES OF REST & RETIREMENT
(Saturday, October 7)
I am thinking this morning of God’s “rest” on Day Seven of creation, because it is Saturday today, which is the 7th day of the week, and it also happens to be the 7th of October. I’m also thinking about the old Sabbath-commandment(s), that God’s people also “rest” on this day, and what that means for us.
While we are *not* called to rest in the same ways that the chosen people did under the Law of the Old Testament (for more on that complicated question, see my little book, Praying in Time), we do understand that rest, in general, is so vital and tricky a part of human life, that God gave His people commandments about it. It remains both vital and tricky for us, in our 24/7 Internet Age, properly to find and honor certain times of rest. And it does not necessarily get easier, when we are retired or unemployed, and have a lot of “free” time on our hands. We might find ourselves crippled by boredom, loneliness, despondency, or some other un-dignifying and un-productive ways of “resting.”
But let us take heart, if we are not very good at resting! Let us see the whole issue of “rest,” including the God-given commandment to rest, as a dignifying challenge; as a capacity we need to learn and to develop, through daily discipline both physical and spiritual, that we may ultimately enter into God’s kind of “rest.” This requires some “diligence” on our part, as the author of Hebrews writes: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest.” (Heb 4:9-11a) Let us diligently honor our rest-times as well as our work-times, and pray for the wisdom to know the difference.