Friday, April 29, 2016

Remember the Sabbath - Part 1

Friday, April 29, 2016

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work.  This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested.  That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.  Exodus 20:8-11(NLT)
We live in a stress-filled, burnout-prone world.  I have a copy of a cartoon in my office that shows a zebra looking back at his tail-end.  All his stripes are unraveling and falling on the ground.  The caption has him saying, I think I'm having stress!  Pat Reams, a dear friend in a former church stopped by my office one time wearing a T-shirt with a cartoon picture of a cow, laying belly-up, buzzards circling.  The caption is:  I'm all right...really!  Stress is everywhere!
According to The Pryor Report[2] here are some early signs of burnout:
 * Do you tire easily? Feel fatigued instead of energetic?
 * Are you working harder but accomplishing less?
* Are you disappointed in and short with those around you?
 * Do you see less of close friends and family?
 * Do you have pains, headaches, lingering colds?
 * Are you unable to laugh at or tell a joke on yourself?
The more you answer "yes" to these questions, the closer you may be to burnout.
Even in our play we suffer the symptoms of our harried existence.  A Saratoga man describes a vacation as ...that brief period of time between trying to get ahead so you can leave and trying to catch up when you get back.[3]  Another man told how his friend's wife has said ...that being married to him was a vacation.  When [the friend] commented that it was a really nice thing to say, [he] replied:  Well, actually, what she said was I was the last resort.[4] 
Going to a resort like Disney is a prime example.  Families go there to really enjoy a vacation, and they spend thousands of dollars to stand in two hour lines in 300° heat!  On the drive back they honk the horn in frustration and make obscene gestures at other drivers that get too close or don't move fast enough.  Traffic is an indicator of just how insane our lifestyles have become.  All traffic lights are red for you, and green for the other guy – right?  It's incredible – we spend our lives rushing and screeching brakes, getting stopped by every red light on the road.  Then, when we die, they put us in a long black car, and run every red light!  And then, you've got no place to go!  It's no wonder burnout is just around the corner!
Christians have to stop and ask the question – in light of the fourth commandment -- is stress and burnout what God really wants for His children?   The answer is a no-brainer, resounding NO!  What God really wants for us is:
      Healthy personal relationships.
      Strength of character.
      Family joys.
      Genuine concern for others.

For You Today

Does that list describe your life? 
Or are you more like the family coming back from Disney? 
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!

[1] Title Image:   By Nevit Dilmen [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
[2]Vol 9, No. 1a

[3]James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, (Wheaton, Tyndale House Publishers, 1988), 495

[4]Richard D. Oliva, Reader's Digest, November 1993), 111

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