Observation: Moses' final sermon to the people of Israel includes a recap of the Ten Commandments God gave to them on the mountain. Just as in Exodus, the first place the commandments appear, special attention is paid to how and why the people should observe a Sabbath day every week. It's a great equalizer: it's for people of every station, free and slave alike, and it is born from Israel's communal trauma of being slaves themselves in Egypt.
Application: I recently had an online discussion with other Lutheran pastors about days off. It's variable, but most people take either Friday or Monday as a day of rest. It's becoming more common today for Pastors to take an actual "weekend" (Either Friday-Saturday, or Sunday afternoon through Monday) the same way many other professionals do.
What strikes me about our understanding of Sabbath today is that we sometimes think of it as a luxury, or a personal indulgence. It's not...it's a Commandment, and it's for everybody. It is an act of worship, in its way, to cede control of our lives to God and know the world will keep turning even if we get off the hamster wheel. At the same time, we no longer live in a society that shuts down one day a week. It can't. While some rest, others pump gas, answer emergency calls, and monitor hospital units. Or, you know, preach the Gospel. So our sense of Sabbath has become individualized. We have to figure out what Sabbath looks like for us. But it has to be a full day...if you think you can really let go of trying to be Lord and master of your life on four hours here and eight hours there, between shifts, with no consistent schedule, you've missed the point.
You're not a slave to anyone. Not your boss, not your bills, not the economy, not the election cycle, nobody. And besides that, you're not God. The world will get along fine without you, and even better when you return refreshed. Take a day and be free.
Prayer: God, help me let you be you. Amen.