I wear a badge. I was awarded it by a noble group of people who are highly esteemed in our culture. I announce that I have it regularly, and I have wrapped at least some of my identity around it. That badge reads “I am busy”. You have one too?
The next time someone asks how you are, or you ask someone else, see if that all too easy reply comes out, “I’m busy”. It happens all too often. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes we just want others to think it is. Our activity level has become our standard of value. It’s not how much we make, or our titles, but rather the appearance that the world would cease to rotate without us. Nations will perish, the oceans will either rise or dry up, and all mankind will endure an existential crisis.
Of course I exaggerate, but why do we need to point out how busy we are? Is it pride? Probably sometimes it is. I think also it’s because we want someone to say “just stop it!” We want permission to let go of some responsibility, permission to get the sleep we need (how sad is that?) or permission to just say “no” to a few things. So when we say busy, do we want others to tell us to slow down?
God knew this would be a problem, that our productivity would measure our value, our accomplishments becoming trophies. He knew we’d see an outsized caricature of ourselves, forgetting that He is sovereign. He knew it would be such a problem that He commands us to take a Sabbath. Not a suggestion, not a cool idea, a command.
We often quote Psalm 46:10 that says “Be still and know that I am God”, and we say that means we need to pray quietly or listen for God’s voice. That’s not what it says in context. The Psalm is a declaration of God’s power, of His protection, and His sovereignty in the midst of chaos. Read the whole Psalm. God is saying “stop striving so hard, I’ve got this”.
God has given us things to do. If we are exhausted, if we cannot obey the sabbath, if we are just too busy for too long, then there’s a really good chance we are being disobedient in some things. Figure out what those things are, and just stop it.