We talk about tithing—what God demands of our resources—but what about God’s demands on our time? From the Israelites, God demanded one day out of seven—a higher proportion than that which He demanded of their material possessions. How many people in the church today really give God one day out of seven? That is one reason that there are so many nervous breakdowns—there are frustrated, frantic, busy people who never get the job done.
God was the first One who rested. He worked, then rested. A Palestinian Arab friend of mine who owns many restaurants says, “God did not work because He had a family to support. And God did not rest because He was tired. It was on a much higher level than that. God worked because He is a Creator.” God rested, I believe, because He wanted to enjoy what He had created. If we never take time to enjoy what we have created, we are in a miserable condition.
Which takes more faith: to work or to rest? Israel failed to enter into rest because of unbelief. Why can a Christian not rest? Also because of unbelief. That is the diagnosis of the problem.
Relaxation comes in knowing that God initiated it. My wife and I used to go away on “vacation.” But vacation means you have nothing to do—it is taken from the word vacant. Sometimes, though, it is good to have nothing to do. But my wife and I felt that vacation was the wrong word to use. Instead, we called these periods holidays, which means “holy day.” God showed us that it is a sin to never take a holiday. In Israel’s calendar, as God ordained it, many holidays were required. There were no options. They are God-ordained holidays—not because someone wants to be lazy, but because God has said to take a holiday.