If the Devil Can’t Make You Sin, He’ll Make You Busy — So Get Some Rest

“The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.” (CCC 2172)

Eugène Delacroix, “Christ Asleep During the Tempest,” 1853
Eugène Delacroix, “Christ Asleep During the Tempest,” 1853 (photo: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

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You’re going to like Rule Seven for Living Joy, even though it’s really hard to actually live out in our frantic world. Rule Seven is: Rest.

I’m going to say something that might blow your mind: Jesus is chill. Jesus was a relaxed person — more relaxed than we could probably relate with.

You see, most of us live in seventh gear. In fact, sometimes we associate that fast pace with pouring our lives out for others, and with holiness.

Jesus had time to stop and look at the person in front of him and focus on them with a laser kind of focus — to where, after he made someone rise from the dead, he would then say, “Get him something to eat. He’s hungry.” He had the time to find somebody whom he healed of blindness and then have a conversation with the guy.

You know why he had time for people? Because he had time. Jesus tried to live in first gear. That’s also why the things that he said and did were so profound.

But we don’t live relaxed. And most of us don’t know how we got so frantic, do we? How did it happen? How did it happen to you?

Maybe your life got frantic because you have a hero complex and you have to make everybody happy. Maybe it got frantic because you’ve maxed out your finances, so your expenses match exactly what you make, so you never get to rest financially. Maybe it happened because you tie your self-worth to your accomplishments, so sitting down and resting is impossible — you might lose who you are, and what you’re worth, and all that you know.

But I’m not sure I care that much about exactly where it came from. God’s commands fix a lot of things when we obey them, and they help us get to the root of our problems when we just obey.

Wherever you’re at, however crazy things are, God commands you to rest. This is serious business. This is a command from God. There are only ten Commandments and one of them is to keep the Sabbath holy — to set aside time as sacred.

In the ancient world places were always regarded as sacred, but this is unique. The Jews were way ahead of their time here, by the command of God.

See, physicists now know that time is a thing. It’s part of creation. If you step outside the universe there’s no space, but there’s also no time. It’s part of what God made in this universe we live in.

God set aside a time as a place to rest. And he commanded them...

I’ve got to tell you, for all the commands God had to give, to codify, to attach punishments to if we disobey them, this one must have blown his mind. “Really? I have to threaten you to rest?”

Yes, Lord, we’re actually that stupid.

But he did this because he knows it’s so essential for our happiness.

Rest sends a message that I don’t exist for my work. I don’t exist for my accomplishments. I don’t exist for money. I don’t exist to be a part of the great machine of society, for the advancements of science, for my government. I don’t exist for any of this stuff.

In fact, all those things exist to serve us, and we serve God.

That beautifully sums up all Christian social teachings and ethics, doesn’t it? That we’re on a throne of dignity this high, and don’t try to take us down.

There’s a beautiful quote from the book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (which I highly recommend) that “if the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy. ... Both sin and busyness have the same effect. They cut off your connection to God, to other people, even to your own soul.”

Listen, God commands you to rest every week, and you should also take little times each day to have little “mini sabbaths,” where you just soak in life and remember God. Remember the people most precious to you. Remember your “why.” Remember who you are.

And God commands that, like all his commands, because he wants you to be happy. He wants to share his joy with you.