Our Bible verse for today: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Stop working so hard at playing.”
Gordan Dahl was a professor of economics at the University of San Diego. He once published an article in the magazine “The Christian Century” which reported his findings about the work and vacation habits of the average American worker. He wrote:
“In truth, for millions of Americans … leisure has come to mean little more than an ever more furious orgy of consumption. Whatever energies are left after working, are spent in pursuing pleasure with the help of an endless array of goods and service. This is “virtuous materialism” par excellence. It offers men the choice of either working themselves to death or consuming themselves to death – or both.”
What Dahl was referring to is the habit many of us have developed of being as busy in our leisure as we are in our work. Rather than really resting and renewing, we instead fill our leisure time with endless activities that leave us exhausted. We essentially work at our play. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone complain that they needed a rest after their vacation.
The great Christian writer A.W. Tozer once observed that we modern Christians have lost the ability to simply “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). We’re entirely too busy to be still.
As we’ve learned, there’s a lot to be said for playing and having fun and engaging in activities we enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s even good. But true Sabbath-rest also needs to include quiet times of inactivity. It needs to include what the Psalmist was writing about in Psalm 23:1-3, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”
In order for Sabbath-rest to renew and restore – in order for it to be spiritually nurturing, it needs to include times of quiet inactivity. There needs to be time for reflection and just being still before the Lord.
I encourage you to stop working so hard at your play. Take some time to really rest.