Always Time for a Time Out
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If you're a sports spectator, it's the least exciting part of the event. If you're a player, it can really make an important difference. It's called a "time out." Now on TV, a time out is a good excuse for a commercial. But some important things are sorted out during time outs. A coach can give you some perspective on what you're doing right or wrong, some suggestions on how to play better, to improve, look at the weaknesses of the other team. You can catch your breath, you can recover, you can regroup. A time out wisely used can actually make a decisive difference in the game...in your game.
Time outs are part of God's game plan for you and me. I know that because of our word for today from the Word of God in Exodus 31. I'll begin reading in verse 13. "Say to the Israelites, you must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between Me and you for the generations to come." God goes on to say, "For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest." And then He says, "It will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth. And on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested."
Now it's pretty obvious from what God is saying here that regular rest is built into our creation. The problem is this: non-stop running is built into our culture. No matter what we were created for, our culture has us running all the time. God says here, "You must. I insist you build a time out into every week. Not just a big annual vacation where you try to catch up for a whole year of not resting." In every week He says, "Time out—regular rest and recovery; time with Him."
Work will take over your life. It's a slave master. You don't have responsibilities; responsibilities have you a lot of times. And God's saying here, "Don't let it take over." He puts a Sabbath in every week to break the dictatorial momentum of work. The rule of work: cross out two of the things that sustain your life. One, it doesn't allow any time for the worship of the Lord. And number two, it does not allow any time for the restoration of the worker. That's what Sabbaths are all about. Get together with God and get yourself together.
If you've allowed responsibility to cancel out the Sabbath thing in your life, you're flat out disobeying God's plan. The Lord's model was that He abstained from work and He rested.
Resting is the easy part; abstaining from work is the hard part. I mean, here's a mountain of responsibility in front of you and it is an act of faith to say, "I believe I'll obey God and I believe God will do more with six days than my seven because I'm honoring Him."
It's similar to what you believe about tithing, that God can do more with the 90 percent than with your 100 percent if you didn't tithe. When you exercise the faith to take your time out each week, your judgment improves, your energy goes up, your creativity is greater, your confidence is greater, your personality's better to be around, and you return to your responsibilities a better you. God insists on this practical step of sanity; rest whether you have time or not because you don't have time not to.
God calls you to stop the clock each week and remember who you are and whose you are. A time out wisely used can make all the difference in the outcome of your game.