But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. … The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you. Leviticus 25:4
Recently I’ve been reading about the effects of the Industrial Revolution on work and leisure. Before the Industrial Revolution people worked more haphazardly, they worked as they had need. The Industrial Revolution produced a much wider variety of consumer goods which in turn created a market for these goods, so people worked to buy commodities not just food. We went from the idea of working to eat; to the idea of eating to work. In the process, we lost much leisure time.
Surprisingly though God is very keen on rest. He instructed the Israelites to take one year off in seven! As well as the many festivals and celebrations where they were told not to work (Leviticus 23). However, it seems these yearly, Sabbath rests weren’t taken (2 Chronicles 36:21).
Taking a rest is hard to do! We live in a culture that values work and activity and undervalues taking time to be renewed and refreshed. It takes time to be creative. Mark Buchanan in his book, The Holy Wild, writes, “Our creativity, at least in part, comes from resting in His creativity until it seeps in. It springs from prayer. Not the busy chatty prayer we often do … Not the clamoring man waking his neighbor, desperate for bread, but the suckled child curled up, satisfied in the mother’s arms.”
Likewise, let’s take time to be the suckled child, satisfied in our Father’s arms.