Posted tagged ‘rest’

What are You Doing Next Sunday?

August 24, 2016

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

NBC commentators have been under criticism for their frequent reference to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as “old.”  A couple of times they even noted that the 31 year old was struggling to get out of the pool. In response, one vocal critic said she guessed that 31 is the new 80.  That is one more reference that reminds me of how people speak of the “new normal,” noting how things have changed and are not what they used to be.

Well, it seems to me, then, that Sunday is the new Saturday.  Too often people are doing things on Sunday that could have been done on Saturday, and their delay is interfering with church and other spiritual things.  Now I don’t want to debate what is and is not proper “Sabbath behavior.”  But I know for a fact that God did not create the weekend, nor did he create the 5-day work week.  Those are man’s ideas.  God created six days for normal activity and one day for what He called ‘rest.’
 
What I do know is that it is designed to be different from the other 6 days, and that it is to be used for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual restoration that fits us for our labors.  We are not told in Scripture how to spend the day, but we are commanded to keep it holy.  And in the flow of the Ten Commandments, the 4th commandment about the Sabbath follows three other commands about how we are to revere and honor God and His name.  All 4 commands seem to be connected.
 
I encourage you to plan ahead.  Reconsider your priorities.  Take God seriously. This command must be quite important to the Lord, or else it would not have made the top 10!  We must give God His proper place in all we do.
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The ‘Rest’ of the Story

June 29, 2016

By Dr. Steven J. Callis 

            It is mesmerizing, melodic in a way; almost hypnotic.  Continuously repetitious, invoking all five senses of the body, the ocean beach is a great way to relax.  If it has been a while since you were there, you may need to have your memory refreshed.

            The sight of the blue water capping to white as it rushes toward the shore partners with the crashing sound of the waves, one after another.  The feel of the ocean breeze is just enough to cool the body while the sun bears down on the sand, the sea, and the sun-screen-lathered beachcombers.  The subtle aroma of the salty air freshens the nasal passages and slightly informs the taste buds. 

            Being embraced by such an experience while lying on the sand, shaded beneath a large umbrella – well, no one is a match for the “sandman!”  Even the occasional flybys advertising Eagles Beach Store, and the faint screams of children running in and out of the ocean waves do not disturb the “music” of the beach.

            It is interesting to watch the various ways people choose to enjoy the beach.  For many of them, this is their one big week of the year away from time pressures and responsibilities back home.  Some are content to simply lie around and soak up the sun, while others romp and run and walk and play as though they are energized by that drumming pink bunny.

            Obvious beyond all of that is family.  The place we call “our” beach tends to attract families with young children, and often the grandparents are included in the fun.  To me, a real vacation is somewhat like a Sabbath.  It is not intended to be the norm of life, excessively taking us away from our commitments and responsibilities.   However, it is a prized opportunity that allows the body and mind to refresh, to rekindle, and then to re-enter life back home with a renewed sense of passion and purpose.

            It lifts my spirit to see families enjoying their time together, getting along and making the most of their week.  It seems that every year there is at least one large group of related families who have coordinated their schedules to be together.  Their planning and hard work to make it happen is well worth it as they enjoy their beach reunion.

            So here I am, back in the saddle, as some might say it.  Nothing has changed.  It is the same office, with the same schedule, the same challenges, and the same responsibilities.  Yet, there is a slight bounce in my step.  It felt good to get away, and it feels good to be home.  For you see, we are created with purpose; we are caretakers of our world and its inhabitants.  Our Sabbath rest serves to restore our being in order that we might effectively and efficiently serve our purpose.

            Whether we are talking about a one day rest to begin the week or a one week rest sometime in the year, our mind and body need that break.  When King Solomon declared that there is a time and purpose for everything under heaven, he understood that there is a time to rest, and a time to work.  The better we understand and embrace each, the greater will be our contentment as we fulfill our purpose.

I Could Use a Rest

August 1, 2013

I Could Use a Rest

by Steven J. Callis

 

I was in Gatlinburg when it happened.  Driving many miles and spending some time in Daytona and Jacksonville on my way to the mountains, I had been out of touch with the real world for a few days.

Once settled and having enjoyed a good night’s rest, I ventured out from my mountain chalet the next day, where it did not take long to discover that I had missed something.  People seemed obviously shaken, concerned, and saddened.  Eventually realizing that most of the people I saw seemed to be affected, I wondered if there was a national crisis, possibly the death of our president.  Even though I had been out of the loop, in the course of time I learned that the news actually surrounded the death of Elvis Presley.

It is unlikely that anyone could miss such a newsworthy event today.  We live in a connected world.  We feel lost without our computers and Kindles and tablets  and cellular devices on which we can talk to other people, write to other people, take pictures, play games, watch movies, and find information or answers to even the most obscure of topics and questions.  Some people are so permanently connected that their phone is worn on the ear like a fashion accessory!

One downside of our connected world is that once I have mastered the use of this device, then it begins to master me.  There is almost an addiction to being connected.  We listen to music or talk radio in the car, and carry our ipods or other listening devices whenever we can, and some schools are now allowing the use of smartphones in the classroom.

So when do we find time to rest?  Where do we find our down time, when our minds and bodies can appreciate silence and inactivity?  How do we disconnect in order to process what we have heard or experienced?  Without that rest, I become weary of the informational overload to the point that it all becomes a burden rather than a joy – even something as simple as listening to a song played on the radio.

We were created for work, but rest is a critical aspect of that function.  The rest is necessary for renewal; a break from the routine that reenergizes our mental, emotional, and physical capacities.  We must not allow our desire for connectivity master us.

The writer to the Hebrews speaks of another kind of rest, an eternal rest for the redeemed in Christ.  The warning is to hear and follow the Word of God, for those persons are the ones who will enter His rest.  Ultimately, we were created for this rest.