How’s your battery life?

I’ve had a cell phone for 13 years. How is it that I can’t seem to keep it charged? The more “devices” I get, the less juice they seem to have. For as amazing as modern technology is, it’s all worthless without the power.

I suppose our biotechnology is similar. We humans have trained our bodies and minds to achieve phenomenal things. Yet life’s dysfunction makes us question the progress. Our technology may be high, but our batteries are low.

Early on, the Creator addressed the human propensity toward a harried and hurried pace of life. Before his list of Do Nots ever gets to lie, steal or kill, he commands rest. Not just once a year or once a quarter. Once a week. And not just for one hour or one morning. All day.

Go back and look: The Creator gives more background and description for the Sabbath commandment than he does for any of the other nine. Bizarre. It seems we could use more elaboration on “Do not murder” or “Do not cheat on your spouse” in this violent and lust-crazed age.

I suppose the Sabbath command is a variation of “Do not murder,” as in “Do not murder yourself by running yourself into the ground.” It’s a reminder that we are small-C creatures, not big-C Creators.

The Creator knew that if we would but rest, the other temptations would wane. Our desires to control, to arrange, to be our own god will dissipate.

A busy life paradox: The more you do, the less good it does. Businesspeople call it the law of diminishing returns. You work more, but you accomplish less.

An example from the people who were given the Ten Commandments originally: In their desert wanderings, God gave the Israelites daily food from heaven. But if they gathered more than they needed for that day, the extra food would spoil.

Likewise, when we try to gather 7 days of productivity from a week or 20 hours of productivity from a day, over time the overtime will do more harm than good.

A good measure of whether you’ve had a day of rest is how you feel at the end of it. Are you refreshed and rejuvenated or did running kids from piano recitals to baseball practices wear you out? Is your mind at peace by day’s end or are 10 or 15 worries weighing it down?

An irony of the modern Sabbath is that the process of going to church can wear you out more than it puts fuel in your tank.

Searching for kids’ shoes; frantically rushing out the door; concerned about how late you’ll be or how you look; a few exchanges of niceties but few meaningful interactions; the race to pick up kids before Sunday School teachers blow a gasket; the rush to lunch before hungry kids melt down.

Whew! Not exactly restful.

We do these and many things in an effort to keep up. To not miss out. To prove something to someone or everyone.

And for what? Not much if we’re not relating well to those around us. Not much if we can’t slow to enjoy the goodness God gives.

“Set aside a day of rest for me,” God says, “and I will return it to you… six-fold.”


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1 Response to “How’s your battery life?”

  1. 1 jessestroup May 16, 2013 at 10:43

    Kevin, Thanks much for this piece.  The message is so important, and I need it.  I did not know that about more instructions and descriptions of Sabbath Day rest than any of the other nine.  Great point.  I think Sabbath preparations have to weigh in on the getting out the door to church on Sunday.  It does not cease when the children leave home, I might add.  Hey, could I float this thought with you, Barbara and I have been thinking about doing a Boerne weekend with your family on Memorial day weekend.  Your and Sarah’s thoughts? Jesse

      Jesse R. Stroup Director of Spiritual Care Lifeline Chaplaincy 2777 Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 1020 Dallas, TX 75207 214-678-0303


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