Remember the Sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11
When the summer months come they bring with them increased opportunities for relaxation and recreation. However, our fast moving world would often seek to deny us those gifts of time and space. We can find ourselves in a place where the desire for leisure is seen as a sign of laziness or lack of commitment. But was it not God who gave to us the model of rest by refraining from activity on the seventh day of creation? And if all we have comes from God, by not taking the time for leisure do we not disregard this essential gift?
When we take time to include “inactivity” into our daily life and into our year, we acknowledge that we are not the sum of our career, job, schoolwork, or even parenting. We have been given more by God and sometimes the only way to experience the richness of those gifts is to take a break from that which we normally do. The German Catholic philosopher, Josef Pieper, spent much of his time writing about these very issues. In his book, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, he wrote about the dangers of becoming consumed by work. He wrote, “Of course the world of work begins to become – threatens to become – our only world, to the exclusion of all else. The demands of the working world grow ever more total, grasping ever more completely the whole of human existence.”
Whether it is during summer or another time of the year, let us be good stewards by taking time to rest in the Lord. At times the fields must lie fallow to be watered by the rain and nourished by the sun. This will provide time to the sower to decide the best crops to plant and seeds to sow. Then his harvest, when it arrives, will be that much fuller.