Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.” Exodus 23:12 (NIV)

God designed time for rest to be taken daily and weekly. He told Moses and the Israelites, “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:12).


This was not a suggestion, recommendation or piece of practical advice. This was a command: Rest! Once a week let the system reboot. Once a week, let the entire household slow down. The Israelite who violated this law paid for the sin with his or her life.

Today the “death penalty” is still in effect, but it gradually comes from overwork, stress and anxiety.

The Bible doesn’t see rest as a sign of weakness or laziness, but as a mark of reverence. To observe a Sabbath day of rest is to announce, “God knows what I need more than I do. If He says to rest, I will rest.” And, as we do, our bodies and minds are refreshed.

Never has rest been more important. We move at too fast a pace and our adrenaline spigots seldom shut off. Racing for late-night flights and adding early-morning meetings, we’re stretched beyond our limits. High adrenaline output depletes the brain’s natural tranquilizers and sets the stage for high anxiety. Many of us learned to associate relaxation with irresponsibility, so we might need some rewiring.

  • An hour or daylong Sabbath is not the time to catch up with work. It is a time to entrust my work to God. After all, He worked for six days and then rested. The world didn’t fall apart. It won’t for me either.

God promised to supply the Hebrews with manna each day. But He told them to collect only one day’s supply at a time. Those who disobeyed and collected enough for two days found themselves with rotten manna. The only exception was the day prior to the Sabbath. On Friday, they could gather twice as much. Otherwise, God gave them what they needed, in their time of need.


I did find myself rationalizing on a work morning after reading this that yes, I deserved rest, and I should close my eyes again! Ok wrong! This was me taking this message and flipping it to what I wanted. The command is to rest daily and weekly, but to set aside a day to rest. And what better day than Sunday!

Doesn’t each day have its share of challenges? Some of them repeat themselves over time; others are one-day specials.

Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV

I’ve learned the key to tranquility and true rest is to face today’s problems and no more, to treat each day like a self-contained unit. Here are today’s problems. Meet them with God’s strength. But I don’t have to start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. I don’t have tomorrow’s strength yet. I simply have enough for today. And I can’t cross a bridge until I reach it.

So what to do?

  • Find a parking place for tomorrow’s problems. When they surface, write them down, and mentally drive them into a parking garage and leave them there.

  • Don’t over-stress your coping skills. Emotional energy is finite. Give yourself permission to say, “I will solve this tomorrow. By sunrise I will be replenished physically and mentally. Every day is a fresh start, so I will start fresh in the morning.”

  • Shut the gate on yesterday, and don’t touch the gate on tomorrow.

You no longer have yesterday. You do not yet have tomorrow. You only have today. Live in it!


Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (ESV)