Monday. Morning. How are you doing? Ready for the day? Does coffee have a special role in your life on Mondays? I’m telling you, Monday should be a great day, one that you meet with all sorts of energy and excitement. I know, that’s crazy talk, but that’s what a day of rest, an honest day’s rest will do for you. That’s what God provides for us. A day that we are to fully rest and re-charge our batteries. A day of worship and reverence. Of family and idleness. That’s God’s plan for you. That’s his gift to you. In fact, he expects you to use it exactly as he intended.
Can’t do that? Well, then, that says much more about you than it does about God, doesn’t it? Can’t find time for a day off once a week? Then, my friend, you are trying to put more stuff on your calendar than it is supposed to hold. Let me guess, you get frazzled. You are tired. You seldom have the satisfaction of a job well done. You feel guilty because you should be spending more time with your family, friends, and, yes, God. You don’t plan well. Your money isn’t satisfying. Your health is probably suffering. Your stress? Oh, yeah, that.
In economics, there is a concept called “The Law of Diminishing Returns” that describes the principle of Sabbath. Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a business that produces eye glasses. Let’s say that business is doing well, and sales are increasing. To meet that, workers are added to make more glasses. Perhaps equipment can be purchased that will improve efficiencies. In fact, we may find that one person can now produce twice as many glasses as before. All is well until some point we begin to see the rate of improvement decrease. Why? There is always some limiting factor, whether it be the physical space of the facility, the availability of raw materials or labor, or even distribution of the finished product. At some point, things aren’t as rosy as they once were. If production keeps getting pushed, things can become quite chaotic.
Have you ever experienced this in the workplace? It’s miserable. Things go from celebration to what seems like indentured servitude. Didn’t we see this with the Hebrews when Pharaoh made them gather their own straw to make the bricks? Their lives went from bearable to unbearable overnight. When expectations are greater than capacity, we can expect problems.
This is all common sense, right? Maybe so, but common sense doesn’t always play out in real life, does it?
Here’s the thing. We live in a wealthy nation. Most of the world cannot comprehend our wealth. We have more stuff than we know what to do with it. We have more activities that we can hope to enjoy. In fact, it all becomes a huge burden. We are rich, but we are financially bankrupt. We are now a nation that produces services rather than goods which means we are supposed to have other people do our stuff for us. Instead, we don’t have time to enjoy any of it. Oh, how about our marriages? Do problems with money or time ever cause friction between spouses?
When is enough, enough? When we collapse in a heap of exhaustion? That would be stupid, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be wise to jump off that crazy train at a stop before the crash? Of course, it would. Our problem is that we know the crash is ahead, but we want to keep riding the train. Folks, that’s insanity.
Let me say that again. That’s insanity.
When we are young, we hear our parents give advice. All too often, we don’t listen. Many of us now are the parents giving advice to our children who won’t take it for many years to come. Foolish children, right? What about us parents? Are we ignoring some really good advice? Do we have to be grandparents before we finally take advice to heart?
I wonder how long we would live if we took care of ourselves and rested as God has instructed. I wonder if our bodies would stay limber longer. I wonder if our hair would keep its color longer before turning gray or falling out. What if we had nothing to do and found ourselves building a fort with kids who had nothing to do? What if our families got together and played board games on Sundays without mom or dad worrying over the calendars and planning for all the stuff they needed to get done in the coming week with money they don’t have.
What if we were satisfied with just that which God has provided for us?
Matthew 6:27, 31-34 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The Israelites found that the manna rotted when they collected more than they needed, except what was to be used for, you guessed it, Sabbath. Isn’t all our “stuff” – our possessions and activities – doing the same thing for us? I think it is, except we are too stubborn to realize it.
Our milk and honey has spoiled. Rather than recognize that, we drown it out with coffee. Strong coffee.
Father, wow! Let all this sink in. We need a reality check. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers