Is there such a thing as “taking a break” when all you were doing in the first place was nothing?  Perhaps that is something like a retired person – who is basically on vacation all the time – taking a vacation.  Well, how does this sound?  I, a retired person, earlier this week took a little break to get ready for a vacation!  And I am glad I did.
The painting project is done, and I am both pleased that I did it and that it is done.  It took six days of scaffolding, extension ladders, and buckets … taping, brushing, and rolling.  In the middle of it all I took the weekend “off” because it was packed with attending four social events (and skipping three others).  Since then, I have conducted one family funeral, attended two other visitations, enjoyed a couple other social engagements, and attended a conference.  This morning, before dawn, we began our drive down south for another family vacation.  If you are someone who crammed Cinco de Mayo, Coronation, and the Kentucky Derby into last weekend, you may know how I felt.  Thus, this past Sunday noon through Tuesday morning I was at the cottage – taking a little break to get ready for a vacation.
Today we are driving to Chattanooga.  Tomorrow we are on to Ocala.  Saturday we arrive in Orlando in plenty of time to check into the Air B+B for the weekend and pick up the kids at the airport.  Monday we all will sail out of Cape Canaveral for a five-day cruise.  After the cruise we will take about three days to drive back home, just in time for our Tuesday routine of watching our granddaughters. 
It always feels good to be at the cottage – it provides a wonderful sabbath rest for me.  I relax in a whole different way while I am there.  I always knew I needed this in the days I was working.  Now I can see that my needs have not changed much.
And I do not believe that I am alone here.  It is part of how God has wired us all.  I am sure you know the facts but allow me to remind you.  First of all, we are created in God’s image:  “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1.27).  Then God set the pattern for us “taking a break” when he did so on the seventh day: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all of the host of them.  And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” (Genesis 2.1-2)  Finally, to make sure we got the point, on Sinai he proclaimed, “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.  Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20.9-11)
We all need to “take a break” … and more than just “when we can squeeze it in.”  It is essential to our physical, mental, and spiritual health.  However, in doing so, we must also remember that we are New Testament Christians … freed from being domineered by the law … freed by the Gospel to joyously live life as our Creator designed it to be lived.  In other words, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2.27-28)
Rest – taking a break, Sabbath Rest – is vital to our health, but God does not dictate the how or the  when.  It always includes a change of pace and special time with our Redeemer.  Just as it does not matter upon which day we worship (or what style of delivering the Gospel of Jesus the church uses), so we all can take a break in different ways.  The change of pace may include a change of scenery … or working in the yard … tinkering on a classic car … sports … the list goes on and on.

Sometimes we think we don’t have the time.  Other times we tell ourselves that we “deserve it.”  I will politely replace both of those thoughts with the wording “we need it – because it is how life is made to be lived.”
I have a friend who, tongue in cheek, once said to me, “Anything worth doing is worth over-doing.”  He was speaking of our (sinful) human tendency.  It shows up in working too much … and in working too little.  This, of course, applies to “taking a break” also.
So, my friends – retired and not – remember who (and whose) you are and how life is designed to be lived.  Make sure that you “take a break regularly” without beating yourself up for doing it.  And, while you are doing that, please don’t beat me up for taking a break next Thursday … in other words, I have no plans whatsoever to send out a Thursday’s Thirst from the middle of the Caribbean.

Taking a Break