September 18, 2013

The Happy Day

Exodus 5:1-21

“Why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!”
—Exodus 5:4


I live in a land of dairy farms. These days, a cow has a computer bar code on her ear, and when she steps up to be milked, an electronic device measures how much milk she has made. A glance at the computer screen will tell you if she is producing enough to earn her keep. And if she isn’t, she may soon go to market.

Does that sound a bit like your life? Produce or perish?

Surely God cares that we work diligently and produce fruit for his kingdom. But God does not look at you the way a computer reads a cow. God’s gift of Sabbath rest proves this.

The people of Israel were slaves, and God told Pharaoh to let them rest and worship the Lord. But Pharaoh allowed no rest for his slaves.

In the Old Testament, God commanded rest for people and animals—and even land. In the New Testament, Sabbath rest becomes an image of heaven itself. (See Exodus

20:8-11; Hebrews 4:1-11.)

Take a day and make it different for God. Worship him, and enjoy people. Shut off your cell phone. Refuse to gaze lovingly into the face of your laptop. Go somewhere. Or take a nap.

God is not a computer. You are not a cow. You cannot earn heaven. God loves you. Take a free day, and rest.

Thank you, heavenly Father, for the gift of rest. Forgive me for refusing it. I need your help with this, because my calendar is consumed with too many busy choices. Lord, help me to rest in you. Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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