Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States. At its core Memorial Day is a holiday to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. I am very grateful for the servicemen and servicewomen who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all freely worship and express our ideas, like Batman v Superman wasn’t that bad. I spent some time yesterday praying for those families and friends who had lost loved ones, asking that God would extend his grace and peace to them.
Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of the summer. I’d better buy some white pants and wear them a lot before Labor Day. Even though I love my job, it was still enjoyable to have a day off. I slept in, went for a run and hung out with some family. It was a great day.
Unfortunately, when looking at the Bible, days off aren’t always as great.
David’s greatest sin took place when he was taking a day off. The story of David and Bathsheba begins with the writer telling us that David stayed home during the season when kings normally went off to war. If David had been fulfilling his duties as king and not enjoying the spoils of his victories, he may have avoided one of the most difficult experiences in his life. Instead of fighting a war, David was at home taking some time off. He wandered around on the roof of his palace, probably knowing that he would be able to get a little peeping Tom action in. His days off led to one of his darkest seasons, which could have easily been avoided.
Jonah took a few days off and ended up in the belly of a great fish. Jonah’s job was being a prophet of God. His job required him to listen to God, do what God said and tell others what God had said. When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, though, Jonah decided that he had earned a few days off. Jonah tried running from God and running from his responsibility. Unfortunately, Jonah’s days off weren’t like a three-day cruise to Mexico. Instead God pursued Jonah and made sure that Jonah got back to work. It’d be like God coming to get us on our vacations and telling us that he had something for us to do. Except, hopefully, our vacations aren’t a result of running from God.
The disciples give me hope that I can actually be a follower of Jesus. They spent three years with Jesus and still managed to take some time off when Jesus needed them most. The Garden of Gethsemane is one of the most excruciating passages of scripture. Jesus is at his most desperate hour, hoping that his closest friends can support and encourage him. Instead of supporting and encouraging him, though, the disciples take some time off, take a nap and leave Jesus on his own. Their inability to even keep watch with Jesus makes me feel better about myself, but I still shouldn’t follow their example and take time off when being with Jesus.
Taking time off is great. One of my good friends frequently says that sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is a take a nap. Following Jesus, though, takes intentionality, even during our days off. I love a day off, or even multiple days off, but that down time doesn’t mean we abandon all intentionality.
What’s your favorite part about a day off?