Life sometimes feels like a never-ending to-do list. We start checking our boxes when we wake in the morning and keep it up until we fall into bed at night. This habit has become more evident to me in recent years as I watch my children try to survive today’s cultural expectations. Test scores, jobs, sports, extra-curriculars, social media presence, volunteer hours, and more measure their value daily. Nathan T. Stucky describes this cycle as, “Work. Reward. Repeat.” If we’re not careful, our entire life—even our relationship with Christ and our practice of Sabbath—becomes another part of our constant efforts. We start thinking that it all depends solely on us, rather than on God’s grace.
I watched this happen after an awards night at my daughter’s high school. Though she was there to receive an academic award, she left the event in tears, feeling inadequate and less accomplished than some of her peers. As a parent, all I could do in that moment was put her head in my hands, tell her how proud I am of her, and remind her that she is much more than a number on a page. She is a beloved child of God. She is enough.
Because God calls us and names us, Stucky encourages, “We may set aside our work and the lesser gods that tempt us to look to them as the source of our identity. We may lay down even our Sabbath rules and regulations, and we may behold the work of God from creation….to Exodus, to Incarnation to Cross to Resurrection. And may we dare to hope that the rest we now enter is but a foretaste of the eternal rest….” May it be so.
Nathan T. Stucky, “Sabbath Rest: Not Just for Grown Ups,” Christianity Today, May 3, 2019.
Is the Sabbath something you do or a gift that you let yourself receive?
God, forgive me when I think that that my efforts are the source of my value. Remind me to rest in you, knowing that I am beloved because of you. Amen.