Summertime Sabbath

"Summertime,

And the livin' is easy;

Fish are jumpin'

And the cotton is high"

So wrote Dubose Heyward in 1934 in lyrics set to music by George Gershwin for 1935's Porgy and Bess. Those words stood for a mythic, lazy summertime, those three all-too-short months wherein we can go on a vacation, relax, and spend time in the sun. Fall will come soon, with the cold of winter nipping at its heels. Enjoy the warmth and extra time with your family while you can, the idea of summer says.

As well you should.

Human beings need rest. We are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually incapable of prolonged periods of work without a break. We can't work twelve hour days seven days a week without something breaking. And for those who also do the very real job of keeping house, those long days at work are merely precursors to all the work which we have to do at home after we walk in the door.

God ordained sabbath rest to give us the downtime we need. Just as He Himself rested on the seventh day, we, too, should have a day of rest, a time to sit back from our labors and unwind. The benefits of rest cannot be overstated. People who take off even one day a week are healthier, happier, and more productive than those who don't take a sabbath. Even people who take sabbath from cell phones, work email, and that sort of thing are better off than those who remain constantly connected in our frenetically-paced society.

I understand some of us have to work on Sundays, but your sabbath can be any day. Whenever your work schedule allows, take a day and rest. Use all of your vacation days. Get outside and feel the warm summer sun. Contemplate the goodness of God, that Jesus died for you -- and that's good news!

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