Busyness is moral sloth
God told his people that if they lived according to his covenant other nations would look at how they lived and admire the principles that guided their lives. (Deuteronomy 4:5–8)
One of the most admirable principles of God’s covenant was his provision for rest. There were Sabbath days, Sabbath years, and the Year of Jubilee. (Exodus 20:8–11; Leviticus 25)
During these times the people would rest and God would provide.
Rest was very hard for God’s people. One of the reasons given for the 70 year Babylonian captivity was that the land would get its rest. God’s people had not observed his Sabbath rests. (2 Chronicles 36:2)
Over 1500 years ago the first Christian monks looked at the frenetic world around them and declared that “busyness is moral sloth.” They believed that people didn’t face the real issues of life and made themselves busy so they could avoid them. It is easier to be busy than face ourselves and our lives honestly.
It is no different today. The person who says he is busy seems important. We live in a world of to do lists and schedules. Rest has become an industry. We have rest toys, rest places, and we need to rest when we come back for our restful vacations.
Rest should be part of our routine but how. When God gave rest to his people as part of the covenant there were reasons for rest.
What God said from the mountain in Exodus
In Exodus, chapter twenty, God spoke the Ten Commandments from the mountain. When he commanded his people to keep the Sabbath he gave them a reason. They were to remember the pattern of creation, of God’s work and God’s rest. They were to think about creation when they rested. (Exodus 20:8–11)
What Moses said in his final words to the people
Almost forty years later Moses spoke about the Ten Commandments in his final words. When he mentioned the Sabbath command he told the people to reflect on God’s redemption of the nation from slavery in Egypt when they rested. (Deuteronomy 5:12–15)
What does this means to us
Both creation and redemption focus in what God has done for us. Our times of rest should not be an olympian quest for entertainment but a time of reflection on the God who provides.
Those who follow God in this era of busyness need to take time to reflect on these two things
I have written about these passages before. I need to think about this as much as anyone.
When was the last time you had a refreshing rest?
When was the last time you had some rest that was focused on creation or redemption?
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