Orthodox Jewish people take the Sabath seriously, as you probably know. Those guys don’t fool around about relaxing.
Some groups won’t turn on lights, cook things, set the table, turn on or off the television… it’s pretty intense.
I always used to find this legalistic and silly.
And the truth is, I still do… sort of.
However I’m softening on this opinion, some. It’s a result of a recent power failure.
We had no electricity. It was a nice day outside. Light came in through the windows. We needed no heat or air conditioning.
And I was annoyed, because there was lots of stuff I wanted to do. It was lots of stuff I could have claimed was relaxing, refreshing. But the truth is that mostly it would not have been very good for me.
My challenge for you, right now (put them in the comments section if you want): List all the things you want to do right now.
O.K. Now, how many of them are good things to do? Not productive. Not efficient. But good for you. Good for your soul. Fufilling. Activities that will make you a better person, make you a better son/daughter/father/husband/wife…
O.K., from this list:
How many require electricity?
I’d bet not many of them.
Despite the fact that we know that they are good, how many of them will you do next time you have a few minutes?
If you’re like me you’re going to run toward technological distractions. You’ll spend two minutes adjusting the air conditioner and a minute flicking on the lamp. You’ll turn on your ipod and shuffle through the first 17 songs because you’re not in the mood (never mind that you put them on their in the first place.) You’ll sit down and feel so proud of yourself for reading the bible, if you’re anything like me.
And then you’ll read for like 5 minutes. You’ll find some amazing piece of scripture that you just have to blog about. So you’ll close your bible and you’ll rationalize that it’s all good, if you’re anything like me. Because talking about God’s word, that’s just about the same thing as reading it, right?
That day that I had no power I propped up the curtains to let the light in and I kicked back on the love seat and I just read. I read because there was no real alternative, no distractions, no temptations.
It was good. Really good.
But of course here I am, when I should be reading my bible, writing away about that experience instead of actually experiencing it. I’m going to go now, and read… or perhaps I’ll just squander half an hour on a stupid video game instead, because I can.
I’m not very smart, am I?