Rest is a powerful word. It is something that we do not take seriously.
Resting takes faith.
The commandment says:
You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
For people to truly rest, they must recognize their own inadequacies and inabilities. To take one day a week off from our normal work is to proclaim with our lives that we are ultimately insufficient. Resting demonstrates to the world (and to ourselves) that we are utterly dependent upon God for provision.
In our busy world we are constantly at work. We are constantly doing.
Resting requires believers to submit their whole being to God; not merely the body, but the heart, mind, and soul must all be knelt before God in humility.
Labor is a good gift, but a terrible idol. The Sabbath is a weekly reminder that, while labor is good, God is ultimate. Labor honors God, images God, and points to our working God. However, rest also honors God, images God, and points to God. If we lose a biblical balance between work and rest, one will dominate the other, and an idol has been formed.
The idol of workaholism is especially abundant in American culture.One author summarizes: “The workaholic’s way of life is considered in America to be at one and the same time (a) a religious virtue, (b) a form of patriotism, (c) the way to win friends and influence people, and (d) the way to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.” The cultural reinforcement of a workaholic’s idolatry has to be counteracted.
The sabbath reminds believers that they are not the true source of their own blessings and provision; their own industriousness is not the means of their survival. When someone is reminded that all good things come from God, that God is in control, and that God will provide for all of our spiritual and physical needs, then that person may then come to find contentment.
That is what one day of rest is about.