Pastor Chris Tweitmann
A few years back, I was reading a book review that made reference to a short essay penned in 1931 by the famed British economist, John Maynard Keynes. Titled “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren”, Keynes speculated on how the world would be a century later. Himself living in an age of considerable economic progress and technological advances, Keynes already had witnessed a reduction in the work hours of his generation. Looking to the future, he was convinced this trend would continue.
Therefore, by 2028, Keynes predicted people would work about three hours a day! In fact, for Keynes, even this reduced work schedule would represent more labor than was actually necessary. The net result of this imagined future was the question of what would people do with all their free time. Here’s the specific quote that stayed with me from Keynes:
“For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem
—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure,
which science and compound interest will have won.”
Keynes was spot on in his prediction of future economic progress and rising technological advancement. How then, did he end up being so off base in forecasting a decrease in the workload of humanity? Why have we ended up not with more rest and increased recreation time but actually less? Could it be that workaholism is more of an epidemic than we realize?
There can be no denying that ours is a constantly hurried and always hustling culture. We have become so conditioned to always be “doing” that we have lost our sense of “being”. Even though this frantic speed by which we live is negatively impacting our relationships, adversely affecting our health, and undeniably taking years off our lives, we continue to boast about how busy we are. We pride ourselves so much on our productivity that we feel ashamed about and often guilt others who dare not to keep up the pace.
We dream about rather than take long holidays. And even when we do manage to get away from it all, we take our work with us. A vacation has become for us nothing more than a time to recharge our batteries so we can get back to the job at hand. Like the Energizer Bunny, we just keep ourselves going, going, going until we’re gone.
Over these last few weeks, we have been facing these tough truths about ourselves even as we learned this is not the kind of life for which we were made. Our Creator’s design and intention isn’t for us to be perpetually burnt out. We weren’t made for rushing from one activity to the next in some endless pursuit of trying to prove or complete ourselves. Instead, from the very beginning, God created us “to cease, to end, to rest.” We call this Sabbath. One day out of every seven, modeled a regular rhythm of not working in order to rest but resting in order to work.
During this sermon series,we have been exploring the deeper meaning and ongoing purpose of the observance of the Sabbath as a part of our relationship with Jesus. This week as we bring this conversation to a close, I will be answering your lingering questions about the Sabbath. I also will be offering all of us a final appeal for recapturing not only a vision but a regular practice of respecting and keeping this precious gift of rest that God created for us.
It’s not too late for us to stop and discover a new way to live – a way of living where we don’t have to fight for our breath and where we aren’t just trying to survive on pure adrenaline. If you’re exhausted, know that you don’t have to remain in that state. If you’re overwhelmed, trust that God’s greatest desire is to set you free. That is why Jesus came. This is why Jesus lived, died, and rose again, so we would find our inspiration, our strength, our joy – our life in Him.