"I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil." Lk 6:9
Jews have always valued the Sabbath, both as a way to remember God's gracious love of them and to observe God's laws. It is important to remember that very few societies in the ancient world had time away from work. People, especially the poor, worked everyday and rarely had time for themselves. When God rested on the seventh day, God reminded all of us to stop, celebrate and rest. The Jewish people took this example very seriously, and their strict observance of the Sabbath is testimony to this.
At the same time, Jesus, without dismissing the importance of Sabbath, challenges the rigidity of Jewish observance by asking the telling question: Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath? The obvious answer is yes. Not only must we do good, we must also seek to live the underlying values of the Sabbath. Rest is good and important, but seeing the struggles of the sick and suffering and responding to them is just as necessary.
The law of God should never be used as an excuse not to do good. We rest in order to remember God's love and respond to others as God did and does. There is no other way to observe the whole law and the prophets.
Today, rest completely and see how your refreshed spirit will urge you to do more good.
How do you obtain a balance in your life between work and rest?