A Sabbath in Name Only

‘Some anthropologist said that one definition of happiness is to have as little gap as possible between your work and your play’ – that was the wisdom of US author and comedian Paul Krassner, writing in the 1960s.  He might have thought twice if he’d known that technology would mean we can be on constant duty, whether we’re at the office or not.      ~ Helen Croyden[i]

The Internet is never switched off.  This “always on” phenomenon has become a business challenge as well as a personal challenge (at least to some).  Many people are expected to offer services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, globally.  In a world where text messages are responded to within minutes (and sometimes seconds), a 24-hour email response may be viewed by others as unresponsive.

In addition to the right-now-response expectations, Sunday is now treated as any other day in the week, which includes the service of delivering packages on Sunday.  Unless an organization is intentional (consider Chick-fil-A restaurants), its employees will experience Sunday as a “Sabbath in name only.”  And whether you agree with the above or not, this “always on” environment is something for us to consider.

For Christians, the implications run deep.  Will being ‘always on’ add to the “cares and riches of the world” phenomenon pointed out in Mark 4:19 as leading to unfruitfulness in God’s kingdom?

Other Scriptures remind us of the importance of rest as well:

  • Matthew 14:23: “And when he had sent the multitudes away, [Jesus] went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (King James Version).
  • Mark 6:31: “And [Jesus] said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

Perhaps that’s why God rested on the seventh day—to set an example for us.  For

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Genesis 2:2-3 New International Version).

We need downtime to ponder, to think of our Creator, and to become more creative ourselves.  How about you?  Is your Sunday a “Sabbath in name only?”

[i] Croyden, H. (2013, October 2). Energise your life: Work-life balance – what it is and how to find it. Retrieved from http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/07/energise-your-life-work-life-balance-what-it-is-and-how-you-can-find-it-4134572/

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