Tuesday of Pentecost 2 – Deuteronomy 5:12-15

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

We were newly married and seriously short of furniture in our house. My wife was a teacher and needed a desk, so she would have a place to do the mountain of grading and prep work which she was doing after hours and on the weekends. Funds were tight so we looked in the local paper which still was a source for such things, the “want ads” they were called. Sure enough, the Sunday paper came through for us. Someone was selling a desk not far from our house. After church we jumped on the phone and called the number. A woman answered, after a few questions, we determined that we would like to see the desk and likely buy it. Could we come over today?

“No,” was the reply. “We don’t conduct business transactions on Sunday.” It was Utah and this was a very devout LDS family. We arrived on Monday evening and bought the desk. I must admire that this family took seriously the Sabbath command, even though I think they misunderstood it. In a world in which some stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the internet constantly demands our attention and offers us the opportunity to buy unnecessary things at 2 in the morning if we want to, a prescribed time of rest might just be a good idea. My daughter lived in Spain for a while. All stores are closed there on Sunday. She said people get used to the fact that you won’t dash off to the grocery store on Sunday. It is closed. No one starves.

God values rest. All the other gods of the ancient world were considered slave owners, and all humanity were the slaves, assigned the never-ending tasks of feeding them and worship. God, who does not need anything we do, considers us, our servants, even the ox and donkey in our barn, and commands rest. That takes trust in him. For it is no longer gods who command our obedience. Today it is the market forces which say that there is someone else out there who is getting ahead if you take a break. It is the ceaseless chatter of influencers, social media, and others whose livelihood depends on your constant attention via our devices to what they are saying/showing us. But God says, take a rest. He cares about you. Settle in a pew on Sunday and relish in the fact that He is doing all the heavy lifting this day, forgiving, loving, and feeding. Set the phone down today, don’t pick up something else. Just be for a moment. It is OK. He has you and the whole world in His capable hands. Go ahead and rest.

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