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19th April: Get some Rest

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8 (NIV)Jesus said to his disciples 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Mark 6:31-32 (NIV)

Sunday presents a real problem in hospital. Jesus was no legalist about the sabbath, but, we are told, his custom was to attend the synagogue services. He emphasised the need for the rest and change that the fourth commandment prescribed. Even if our medical duties confine us to hospital for a Sunday, we should plan to set aside part of it for worshipping God. A hospital radio or TV service will often be possible, and an hour set aside in your own room for a devotional cassette tape or prayer and Bible study. The effort may be considerable but will prove tremendously worthwhile.

The Bible's teaching on a day of rest is important and often neglected. As a result many busy Christians suffer physical, mental and spiritual problems. Often the 'sabbath' has to be on a weekday. It is a day for re-creation, for regular physical exercise, the mental refreshment of meeting friends (preferably non-medical!), for cultural activities and for Christian fellowship. Best of all we can hear Jesus say, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place'.

Many years ago I heard the Rev Sidlow Baxter say, 'In the twentieth century, with all its pressures on us, I doubt whether it is possible to maintain a Christian life on less than an hour a day spent with God'. 'Impossible in my job!' you say. Perhaps it is not so difficult as we sometimes imagine. I am more convinced than ever that he was right.

You have made known to me the path of life;

You fill me with joy in your presence,

with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Ps 16:11 NIV).

O Lord, your days were more full than mine will ever be,
more people came to you for help and healing, more needs,
more agonising cries, more calls on your time.
Yet you were often alone in your Father's presence
seeking his will, his refreshment and his renewal.
Help me to do the same.

Further reading: Ps 84.


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