Not too long ago, I found this great blog. It’s really nothing more than pictures of little kids napping in unconventional places, because, let’s face it, naps happen. Kids are lucky that way. When they’re tired, they go to sleep. Right. There.
Adults, on the other hand, don’t generally get to nap whenever they want. There’s always work to do, and bills to pay, and laundry to wash, and food to cook, and dishes to clean, and papers to write, and articles to read and etc., etc., etc. Adults have adult stuff to do. All the time.
But on occasion, even adult bodies give out and naps happen to them too. Naps are our body’s way of telling us that we’ve done just a little too much and it needs a break.
Why am I talking about naps? Because I took an accidental one on Sunday evening. Instead of writing a blog post, or a chapter in the book I’m working on, or studying for my upcoming exam, or any number of other things, I fell asleep. And you know what? I don’t feel even a little bit guilty about it.
Am I now behind on some things? Yes. Will I now have to play catch up, say at 10:45 on Monday evening? Sure. But I needed that nap, and I’m ok with the fact that it happened.
Here’s the other reason I’m talking about naps: In a way, God tells us to take them. No, really. He does.
When God was forming the nation of Israel and getting them settled there in the wilderness, He gave them ten pretty straightforward rules to follow. One of those rules, in essence, was that they should take naps. Ok, so I’m reading into that a little, but the principle is there, I promise.
God gave His people a Sabbath – a day of rest (Exodus 20:8-11). In fact, if you remember back to the story of Creation, God gave Himself a Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3). The God of the Universe, the most powerful Being in all of creation, rested.
God did not rest because He was tired. God doesn’t get tired (Psalm 121:4). God knew that if He didn’t command us to rest, we wouldn’t. But He did more than give us a command – He set the example.
How often though, do we really rest? We work 5 days per week. On Saturdays, we do yard work, take the kids to baseball and swimming, and run errands. On Sundays, we go to church, we serve, we go out to lunch, we do some more yard work, oh, and the kids have another game. And we get to Sunday evening completely exhausted, not remotely ready to face Monday. It’s a vicious cycle, week in and week out.
But God told us that one day of the week was supposed to be set aside so that we could rest. How does that fit in with everything else we think we have to do? And if we’re serving and worshipping on Sunday, how are we supposed to rest?
While those may seem like important questions, the fact remains: God commands us to rest. Just like parents of preschoolers know the benefits of a good nap, our Father knows the benefits of rest for us.
And just like preschoolers who fight against naptime, we brush off this command by saying that we do keep the Sabbath holy – by going to church – and we ignore that whole “six days shall you work” bit. And, we ignore what God really meant by Sabbath. Sabbath means rest. So go take a nap. You have God’s permission.
What can you do to add rest to your busy schedule? Pastors and church leaders, how have you been able to observe a Sabbath?