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Ever feel tired? Really tired?
I bet we all know the pressure of production: to get more done, to outdo our competitors, and to measure our value by our output. Hard work is a good thing, but when we never stop working it becomes toil––and toil turns human beings created in God’s image into human doings who have to produce and compete to survive. That’s really tiring stuff.
In our Student Ministry Sunday School series we’ve been learning about the biblical theme of rest. In Genesis 1 God creates the world in six days and on the seventh day, as we know so well, God rests. But let’s think about how weird that is for a second. God almighty––the omnipotent, all-powerful creator–rests. Of course God doesn’t need to rest, but what does this tell us about him? Simply: God isn’t a workaholic.
God isn’t a slave to an endless, toilsome cycle of production and neither does he want his people to be. This is why God institutes the Sabbath, a day of rest every week, in Exodus 20:8-11. The Hebrew word for Sabbath, sabbat, means, “stop!” As in, “Hey! Have you been working non-stop? Sabbat!” God wants his people to know that they’re not just producers––they’re his beloved children and he wants them to take the time to remember how loved and cared for they are.
I often see how tired our students are; youth often feel the toilsome pressure to produce in academics especially. This is why I’m so excited to bring our students to Summer Beach Camp, our new Student Ministry offering. Together we’ll rest, worship, and fellowship together –we’ll sabbat– at a beach house near Port Bolivar. This will be a renewing time as we are reminded of God’s love and care for us.
Ever feel really tired? Consider what it would look like for you to regularly take time to remember that you’re not merely a producer, but in fact you’re loved by God and created in his image. My prayer is that our heavenly Father would renew you as you say “sabbat!” to toil and find rest in him.
The Rev. W. Creighton FriedrichCurate for Student Discipleship
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