The fourth commandment is “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.” In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was a day of rest from labor. On top of that, there were prescribed Sabbath years, in which fields were meant to lay fallow. Not only is this a period of rest for the laborers, but it allowed the soil to regain its strength after six growing seasons.
Two things happen during times of rest. First of all, clearly, we rest from our labors. We allow our minds and our bodies to relax. On top of this, rest allows us to reflect. If we worked 7 days a week nonstop, there would never be an opportunity to reflect on our work. In some sense, we allow the fields of our mind to lay fallow, trusting that some new growth will take its place.
Resting and playing at the beach is great. But what makes it so great is that we worked so hard. A life without work becomes pointless and loses its orientation to God. A life without leisure becomes hectic, overbearing, and exhausting. A natural rhythm of work and rest must be fostered in order to thrive in God’s Kingdom.