The artist had been working for six long days in his project. Every day he put a little more of himself into his work.
"I want it to be just right," he said to himself.
He stood back and looked at what he had done so far. It was beautiful. It testified to his artistic genius, his expansive wisdom, his intricate knowledge of his craft.
"Something is still missing," he thought to himself. "There still needs to be more, something that is an unmistakable sign who the artist is without me having to actually sign it."
He stood back and stared at his work. We paced back and forth, never taking his eyes of the wonder that he had been so busy creating. He stroked his chin while he wrinkled his forehead, deep in thought. He walked to the far end of the room and sat down in his comfortable chair.
Finally, it came to him! He jumped up from his seat and walked excitedly back to him position. He reached out, and began to work again. This was going to be something special, unlike anything else he had done before. There will be no mistaking who the artist and craftsman is for this one.
He worked late into the afternoon without stopping to eat. Something was still missing. He went to work again.
Finally, as the evening drew near, he stepped back to admire all that he had done.
This is good! No, it is very good! It is wonderful, marvelous!
He stepped back and sat in his comfortable chair again as the day drew to a close.
He heard the sound of the wind rustling the trees. The first rays of the dawn reached out over the horizon. They warm rays caressed his aged face, gentle rousing him. He heard the sound of birds chirping, the waves lapping beach. He heard the sound of countless animals welcoming the sun as he made his journey from the horizon. Then he heard voices and footsteps.
"This is indeed marvelous." It was now the seventh day. He sat in his comfortable chair, resting and admiring all that he had done. He was enjoying the fruit of his labor. Six days of work, and then a break to enjoy the fruit of labor.
"I am going to build this rhythm into my work. All of creation needs to work and take a break to enjoy the fruit of their labor, and give thanks. In fact, I am going to designate a final, eternal day in the far future to enter into my rest forever."
Far into the future, we have these words:
Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27)."
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. Exo 20:8-10)."
"You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove (Exo 23:10-11)."
As I reflect on this, I am reminded that even though we are no longer under the Old Testament, there is still a need to take times to slow down, to reflect, refresh, and renew. It was important enough for God to command it.
There will come a time when we will go to Heaven, and have our ultimate "break" forever. These two passages remind us of God's ultimate Sabbath to come:
"So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb 4:9)."
And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them (Rev 14:13)."
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