I’ve written before about how Jesus would go up a mountain alone to pray when he needed time off from his ministry work. He didn’t fly to Vegas or visit his family in Nazareth or go on a pub crawl with the boys – he went away by himself to spend time with God.
What people do on their time off is a fairly good indicator of where their heart is.
We all need to work, and we all need to take time off to rest. God made taking a rest one of his Commandments, it’s that important. But he also hallowed the official day of rest, meaning that he made it a holy day. He made it so that we can spend time with him without worrying about being interrupted by work or other obligations.
The day of rest isn’t meant to be a day off from God or from being a Christian. On the contrary, the day of rest is a day when we can draw even closer to God, like Jesus did on the mountain, or like Mary did sitting at the feet of Jesus while Martha ran around frazzled from housework. The day of rest is meant for us to recharge spiritually so that we’ll have the spiritual strength we need to get through the coming week.
What people do on their time off, particularly on their day of rest, is very telling. God made the day of rest not for us to spend in worldly pursuits but to spend with him. It’s a holy day, not a holiday.
I lived without God for the first 36 years of my life, and the last thing – THE ABSOLUTE LAST THING – I would ever want to do is to live without God again, even for a day. Anyone who is genuinely reborn feels the same. I never need a holiday from God; it would be like taking a holiday from breathing or from my heart beating: I would die if I were even one minute away from God.
I thank God that he’s made me to need him that way. He’s made me to love him with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and there’s nothing in that first and greatest Commandment about taking time off from loving God. I don’t see in the Gospels any evidence that Jesus took time off from loving God. How can you take time off from loving the one who gives you everything you need and asks for nothing in return but that you treat others as you would want to be treated? How can you want to take time off from someone like that?
When Jesus said “I and the Father are one”, he didn’t mean that he was God; he meant that he was so deeply intertwined with God that there was no separation between them: What God wanted, Jesus wanted; and what Jesus wanted, God wanted. It’s like a marriage, where two people eventually become one. Those who are genuinely reborn start the process of becoming one with God, like Jesus was one with him.
You can’t take time off from that. You can only take time off from God if you’re not really a believer. If you’re genuinely born-again, being with God and Jesus is all you want to do. But God wants us to work in his Kingdom, too, so he made it that we can pray to him wherever we are and whatever we’re doing. In that way, we can always be with him and Jesus, just as they’re always with us, through God’s Spirit.
What people do on their day of rest and on their holidays is very telling.