24th June 2023
J.John reminds us
How to Prevent Burnout
Modern Western lifestyle is ruthless and the demands on our
time seem to be infinite. But time is priceless and, indisputably,
our time on earth is finite.
Doesn't it make sense, then, to take a fresh look at the fourth
commandment, 'Remember to observe the Sabbath day by
keeping it holy' - to stop, and catch our breath?
It is my strong belief that for the sake of our health,
our sanity, our families, our relationships, our spirituality and
our society, we all need a day of rest.
I realise this is harder than it's ever been.
But we profoundly misunderstand this commandment if we think it is
God making another burden for us.
Actually, the Sabbath is God's gift to us.
He could have billed this as a gentle 'Maker's Recommendation'.
But he knows us better than that.
By making this a commandment, God is ordering us to take a break.
So, this day of rest.
Well, at the most basic level, it's good for us physically and mentally.
It gives us a chance to stand back, get things into perspective and
see the bigger picture.
It also makes a statement about who runs our lives, deliberately
dethroning work from being central to our existence.
Even on the job of making the entire cosmos, God does not become
He stopped, stood back and saw 'that it was good'.
Made in his image, we'd do well to learn the same principle -
to remember that who we are isn't defined by what we do.
We are human beings not human doings.
If all we do is do, then we will stop being.
The Sabbath should be a day to rest and recharge our bodies.
Resting is about recovering from the week that's been;
recharging is about getting ready for the week to come.
Paradoxically, you may need to work hard to keep God's day
of rest special, and take positive action to make sure that it's
Even Jesus, in the midst of a busy ministry, was proactive in
taking rest, often going to a solitary place in order to escape
Sometimes he took his closest friends to be with him -
other times he went alone.
We too must resolve to guard our rest.
Unless we do, pressures will inevitably erode it.
The time to relax is when we don't have time to relax!
God's day of rest is a day to worship.
Not the only day to worship, but it should be the day when we have time
to focus on God and our life in him . . . to tune in again.
Giving God part of every week reminds us that he is first in our lives.
And if the kind of work we do means Sunday can't be our day of rest,
whenever we take our Sabbath, it should involve spending time with God.
The Sabbath day was created holy, and God wants it to be holy to you.
It's not just about time off; it is about sacred time.
It belongs to God.
The fourth commandment addresses a fundamental issue:
who controls our time?
It is not simply a question of legislation on trading hours or cultural practices;
it is about the lordship of our lives and of our culture.
By keeping God's day of rest we proclaim to ourselves -
and to the world - that God runs our lives.
We need to set an example and, by our use of our precious time,
show that he is Lord of all.
© J.John and Philo Trust
In Session Seven of just10, J.John shows how ignoring the Sabbath
carries a heavy physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual price tag.