When You're Too Busy to Rest - A Lesson from Exodus and Chick Fil A

We are driven people. Every day we feel the press to do more, be more, and check off one more box on our To Do lists. 

We awaken overwhelmed and stumble into bed exhausted, mentally scrolling through the list for the next day. Our work overflows into our nights and weekends, and even when we’re not working, we’re not resting either. There’s always one more thing calling us. 

Sadly, this relentless press even threatens our time with the Lord. Sunday, a sacred day set aside to worship God, spend time with family, and rest (in that order), isn’t sacred any longer. 

The Lord knows our propensity toward overwork and under rest. He even tucked a special clause regarding rest into his instructions to the Israelites all the way back in Exodus 34:23: 

“Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.” 

Do you see it? “. . . no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.” God is saying, “Don’t worry that your livelihood is going to suffer because you take time off to worship me. I’ll protect and care for it. I’ll watch over it when you do the right thing.” 

I needed to read this. Perhaps you do too. Sometimes the press of deadlines and the pile of work deceive me into thinking that I don’t have time for worship. That I don’t have the luxury of a day off. That time digging in the dirt with my grandchildren or having dinner with friends is frivolous and presumptuous. 

The truth is that God established a priority list we would do well to heed. It reads something like this:  

1. Spend time with me first. Read your Bible every day. Pray. Worship with other believers. 

2. Don’t neglect your family. 

3. Work hard. Six days if necessary, but save the seventh one for me. 

In our culture, businesses like Hobby Lobby and Chick Fil A demonstrate that you can have well-ordered biblical priorities and still succeed. They get it. They work hard six days a week, then they take the day off—to worship God, spend time with family, and rest. They believe God’s promise that he’ll watch over their possessions as they honor him. 

Chick Fil A’s commitment to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy hasn’t hurt their business one iota. Last year the Atlanta-based chain opened its 2,000th store. Since its founder, Truett Cathy, opened his first diner in 1946, Chick Fil A has become one of the industry’s most acclaimed brands. 

If you feel like you’re too busy and are afraid to take a day off to honor the Lord, spend time with family, and rest, I hope the promise of Exodus 34:23 will change your thinking. Claim it. Act on it. And watch God work. If you need a bit more persuasion, check out Psalm 127:2: 

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” 

Now it’s your turn. What’s your greatest struggle in the quest to balance time with God, family, work, and rest? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and leave a comment.

Feeling #overloaded? #Stressed? Here's a surprising tip from Lori Hatcher #faith #family (Click to Tweet).

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  1. I really needed to this message today, especially this Scripture.
    Thank you for sharing the lessons you're learning with so many of us. God bless

    1. I'm so glad the Lord used it to encourage you, Sandra. Blessings to you!

  2. Hi, Lori! I would like to challenge the Christian community in relation to this topic in 2 ways.
    A. Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27, Deuteronomy 6:5 and more! In the 1st 3 verses, JESUS replies that the Greatest Commandment is to genuinely Love God. Let us all recognize how often "to Love God" is documented in the Bible as our #1 Priority. Let us all spend a year or 2 or 3 writing a list of a 1,000 ways to prioritize Love for Him and then act on it(as you have started a short list for us... thank you!). Let this be a topic in all organized churches for a few years... sharing ideas, etc.

    B. The concept of REST with/in God is HUGE! Can Christians please acknowledge the TRUTH... that The Sabbath is God's ordained, appointed day and it begins each Friday at sunset and ends each Saturday at sunset. I am NOT Jewish; I am SIMPLY reading & re-reading how often God's Word makes this clear. Are Christians afraid to admit the 1700 year error made by a power-hungry, insecure (?) leader who resented inclusion of Jewish influence on the Roman Catholic church? Emperor Constantine changed the date to Gregorian-calendar-Sunday (c. 325 A.D.), which defies the specific instructions from God. Constantine wanted to get his old sun-worshiping buddies (who worshiped on SUNdays) to convert to Christianity, so he changed God's appointed day of Rest to Sunday to make it 'mentally convenient' for them to convert. He also made it punishable by DEATH to follow God's Word to worship on Friday/Saturday (the Sabbath) (and on Passover) and excluded all Christian Bishops of Jewish tradition/decent from the Council of Nicea. This exclusion points to a human-fleshy-worldly-political-power play to take those who knew MOST about God's teaching (Jewish disciples of our Lord & Savior & Jew, Jesus) out of the way (and perhaps accompanied by prejudice due to different natures/cultures/personalities between the Greek/Romans and Hebrews).

    Martin Luther reformed most of the TRUTH back into the Bible, but not regarding the Sabbath. Isn't it time to go back to God's Word on this topic? It is SO clear. Once corrected in our churches (and hearts), we can really begin to talk about the Blessing of Rest, quality time with God, Family & Friends that is God's gift to each of us. It just happens to begin on Friday at sunset 'til Saturday at sunset.

    Or are we (Christians) going to justify defying God's Word as others do on other topics (making us all hot & bothered when THEY change God's Word)?

    Isn't it Time? Let us BE honest about God's Word. (And that doesn't mean we can't go to church on Sundays... the more time with God the better!)