Exodus 23

There seems to be something about a seven-day cycle that is hard-wired into us, and Genesis 1 implies that this has something to do with being created in the image of God. (I read the other day that, during the 1930s, the Soviet Union experimented with using five- and six-day weeks, but eventually abandoned these in favour of the traditional seven-days. )

As humans we benefit from having our lives ordered by times and seasons, and this is reflected in the laws God gave in Exodus 23:10-19. We benefit from a work-free day each week; we benefit from longer times of rest and celebration during each year; and (something which has survived in the practice of giving church ministers seven-yearly 'sabbaticals', but not in many other contexts) we benefit from building special periods of rest and redistribution into our community life every few years.

If we try to do without these ways of ordering our time we may burn out or dry up - physically, mentally, emotionally.  And also spiritually - because these laws also reflect God's concern about our relationship with him. The Hebrew language uses the same word for worship as for service, but the Bible also encourages us to see worship as being linked to both rest and the ordering of our time.

Time is not simply money. It is a gift from God - which we can use, abuse or waste. And it is one of the most precious things we can offer back to him.

Two questions to pray about:

  1. How do you worship God in the way you use and plan your time?
  2. How can we as a church community ensure that we practice a good balance of service, order and rest?