Gardening

“‘Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest’” (Exodus 34:21 ESV).

Rest. As you read that word, you think, “Really? When am I going to get rest?” I get it: So much to do, so little time. I have a list of chores and projects a mile long. And still we are commanded to rest.

Today every day is hustle and bustle. I have heard people say to me, as if this is a mark of awesomeness, “I am go, go, go, seven days a week.” With great pride they declare their sinfulness.

How about this: “I steal, steal, steal, any chance I get.” Or: “I lie, lie, lie, any chance I get.” We wouldn’t say that. But rest is a command from God. He set the example in the account of creation, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2).

All of creation needs to rest. The very ground we walk on needs rest. My grandfather knew this concept. During the Great Depression, he grew a garden on one side of his garage. On the other he raised chickens. The next year he would switch sides, allowing the ground to rest and the chickens to rebuild the soil. We find this in Scripture.

“‘For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard’” (Exodus 23:10-11).

Consider this: Every seventh year all debts were forgiven and the ground was left alone, allowing for a natural pattern that would beautifully benefit the poor.

I believe we all would do well to take a rest. I have a suggestion: On the seventh day, take a nap. Get off social media. Turn off your TV. Ignore the news. Take a walk. Putter in your garden. Play with your kids or grandkids. Pray. Read your Bible. Eat simply. Rest! All for the glory of God.

Denny Dillman is benevolence pastor at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus.