Better than a Snow Day
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God… (Hebrews 4:9)
Pity the person who has lived so far south that he has never experienced a snow day! Not one of those days when travel is difficult and the schools empty out early. But an honest-to-goodness snow day when everything shuts down. A day when travel is forbidden and only emergency vehicles are allowed on the road. A day when workers must stay home and powerlines are down.
“No work today!” A day for playing checkers and eating popcorn.
Such a day is not desired by most modern Americans. It might drive us to distraction. We are people who must always be doing something. Downtime seems like wasted time.
But God sees it differently, and for his Old Testament people he made downtime a matter of law. Every 7th day was to be a day of rest—not just for his people, but also for their animals. Only absolutely essential work was to be carried out, like feeding animals. The preparation for the meals on that day was to be carried out in advance. The Sabbath meals were the Old Testament versions of our MREs.
Even the land was given a rest by its Creator. Every 7th year was a Sabbatical Year. No crops planted, no crops harvested, no fields worked either by man or beast.
Some think it is foolish to take a whole day off of work each week, and it would be insane to take an entire year off of planting and harvesting food. They shake their heads when they learn that the food growing in those fields that year were for the poor people and wildlife to help themselves to. Did they really give their crops away?
And what if a person broke this law? “For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, A Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death (Exodus 35:2).
Breaking the Sabbath laws brought the death penalty.
How could those people survive? Very well, thank you! Better than most people on earth! Their Lord supplied their needs. The people, the animals, and the land could take a rest.
The Sabbath Day and the Sabbatical Year were part of the Old Testament Law that came to an end when Jesus finished his earthly mission. But setting aside time for God is a command that still applies to us. And so is God’s offer of a rest. In fact, Jesus promises rest for the souls of those who believe in him
The Lord still expects us to work, and he still expects us to rest. He expects that his people understand that they don’t live by the sweat of their brow, but by the blessings from his hand. The person who thinks that it all depends upon himself has turned himself into an idol.
But best of all is the realization that no matter how hard we must work here, and how tired we may get at times, the day will come when we will no longer toil or strive. With the dawn of eternity, the day will come when both our body and soul will rest forever without a need or a care.
The Bible calls the time of perfect peace as being in heaven.
For us, it will be better than a snow day.
We pray: Heavenly Father, we tend to think that success or failure, bounty or scarcity all depend upon our efforts to gain for ourselves what we need. We easily forget the words of Jesus that tell us that the One who takes care of the birds of the air and beautifies the lilies, will certainly be able to take care of our needs. We thank you for providing us what we need during our stay on earth. We praise you for preparing for us never-ending rest in the joys of heaven. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer,
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military,
Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military