Friday, September 10, 2004

It's Not Healthy to Run At This Pace

I cannot believe the week is done. That one just flew by.

I've been meaning to say something here on my blog for a while: As a society, in general, we do too much. And by "we" -- I mean "me." I do too much.

I started teaching through the most important stories of the Bible this week in a Wednesday night study. I'll probably be at this study for more than a year. Come on by the North Atlanta Church of Christ if you're in Atlanta on a Wednesday night.

I started at the beginning (seemed like the obvious choice), so I've been spending a lot of time in Genesis 1 and 2 lately. Does it seem strange and wonderful to anyone else that God actually took a whole day and rested? Right from the beginning the Creator sets for a rhythm of life -- a pattern of work and rest and work and rest -- allegro and legato.

Exodus 31:17 elaborates a little on God's day off. There it says that in some way God "was refreshed" by his break. The Hebrew word there means to stop and catch your breath. Ancient people used to believe that people who work too hard actually run ahead of their own breath (life force). They thought that was why people would often bend over and grab their knees, breathing heavily until their wind caught up. Once their air caught up with them, they would be refreshed and able to continue their work.

I haven't stopped and let my breath catch up in a long time. If my breath ever caught me now, it would probably kick me in the shins and chain me to a park bench.

But here's what really struck me tonight. There's a reason for the sequence we read in the opening chapters of the Bible. We say this when we talk about humans being the pinnacle of creation, if for no other reason than because we were made last. But what does it say that the day of rest is the final day?

Maybe, rest is the goal, the end toward which we work. Maybe the goal isn't for us to recharge our batteries so we can go back to work. Perhaps, like God, we should work hard so that we can rest, relax and savor the work of our hands.

I'm not positive about all that. But I do know this: It's not healthy to run at this pace.