Monday, November 9, 2009

Stopping

"Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to theLord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns." Exodus 20: 8-10

Last week I was going through my normal routine in the morning: coffee, devotion, Bible reading, quiet time, and ESPN. I usually wake up watching Mike and Mike in the Morning (a sports radio show that airs on television). It was the day after the Yankees won the series and I caught the tail end of the discussion. "Greeny" as one of the Mikes is called, was expressing his surprise that there was already talk about how to improve for next year. He wondered out loud if maybe they could take just one day to enjoy the fruits of their labors and celebrate being world champs.
Golic, the other host named Mike, played college and professional football and argued that there was no time to take even the day after such a victory off - arguing that all the other teams were working to get better. In his opinion, if the Yankees (or any team that wins a championship) bask in their pleasure too long, the competition will leave them behind.
I thought this was an interesting caricature of the American culture. Sometimes it feels like the message we receive is that if you ever sit down to rest, someone else will pass you by and achieve more than you. To draw a parallel to a well-known story, many Americans seem to have the competitiveness of the Hare and the incessant drive of the Tortoise. The problem is that we, as limited beings, aren't meant to be constantly sprinting. We need rest.
Mike "Greeny" Greenberg comes from a Jewish heritage. He is familiar with this need for rest. The Hebrew word "שבת" is pronounced "Shab-bat." You may be more familiar with the pronunciation "Sabbath" which translates as "to cease; to stop." I believe that it is because of his being aware of this call for rest that "Greeny" thinks it's important to stop and just enjoy.
Don't let to do lists or ambition get in the way of your Sabbath this week. Relax a while and take stock of all that God has provided for you.