“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed!” he snorted. “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”
Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
I will admit that there have been times when Bilbo's words might have been my own. The demands of life,ministry, and personal ambition can threaten the necessary stability I seek. These feelings are warning signs that my life has been thrown out of balance and an adjustment is necessary. This highlights my need for rest and reinvigoration on a regular basis if I am going to thrive. When I stubbornly ignore that peaceful necessity I eventually run out of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual resources. I am left feeling like a hobbit in need of great change when the solution to my craving is to simply rest in the calming presence of my King who rejuvenates me completely.
The gift of the Sabbath is the remedy for this malaise. While it is often used as a desperate recovery tool when things are out of control, it was intended to be a regular respite for our soul. It's the recognition of our limited abilities and our dependence on God that gives us the strength to endure by finding regular rest. It's one of God's great gifts to us-it's why Jesus insisted that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.