There was a man all alone, with neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil ... (Ecclesiastes 4:8)I am deeply in need of a Sabbath rest. I need more than a day. There is wisdom -- and blessing -- in the cycle of rest in the Old Testament: rest on the seventh day, rest in the seventh month, more rest in the seventh year, and after the seventh set of seven years, a jubilee. The land rests, the people rest, debts are forgiven, and there is an end to toil. There were special prescribed celebrations each year where the people did not work, much like our national holidays, or something like our vacations with the annual pilgrimage feasts and celebrations.
A pause from work is not much of a blessing if it is done for the sake of preparing to work again. The best rest is not taken for the sake of refreshing our work; instead, the work is done for the sake of securing our rest. A pause from work is only restful if it is satisfying: if it is savored, if there is some beauty admired or fellowship shared or celebration, if we have enjoyed a moment of blessing. Without that, our toil seems meaningless to us.