Today we consciously think about the car’s gas gauge. We keep one eye on that needle as it slips toward the red line, dreading the next trip to the gas station. The cost of fuel for our cars eats up an ever increasing portion of our weekly budgets. Consequently, most of us endeavour to car pool whenever possible. It’s easy to be aware of the needs of the environment when we are motivated by the amount of money in our wallets or bank accounts.
Our bodies also need the fuel of rest in order to function efficiently. Most youngsters, after a day of school and play, sink into ten or twelve hours of untroubled sleep. Teens tend to enjoy their twelve hours between one a.m. and one p.m. whenever possible. They know their bodies need rest, too.
By the time we reach forty, sleep like gasoline for our cars, feels like an expensive essential luxury. Demands on our time have multiplied. Between our regular day job, and extra-curricular work as family taxi driver and problem solver, housekeeper, community volunteer and whatever else we do, we have to ration out our time for sleep. We’ve developed a pattern of offering our bodies just enough fuel to keep going. Psychologists tell us that sleep deprivation is an effective form of torture. When I look at today’s parents, and some of today’s seniors and young people as well, I see faces grey with fatigue.
What wisdom does the Bible offer for this dilemma? In Genesis, God does the work of creation from morning till evening. Then God stops to rest and proclaim that day’s work good. God repeats this for six days. On the seventh, God rests all day. This simple pattern requires intentionality. Like a long distance runner, we must pace ourselves on life’s journey. Sleep is an essential fuel. We cannot live well without it.
It’s useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night anxiously working for food to eat, for God gives rest to his loved ones. Psalm 127.2