The fountain doesn’t care about my schedule.

I’m sitting on a bench, barefoot in the sun as I bask in the feeling of the warm rays on my skin and the cool grass between my toes.

Faith Like a Fountain

In front of me is the tall stone fountain that caught my eye the first time I came to this neighborhood, looking for a place to live.  It’s not particularly fancy or ornate, just a five-foot fountain made of weather-worn concrete with a couple layers of basins to give it some variety.

Like most fountains, the sound it makes is hypnotic, a rhythmic pulse of water that drones on, quiet and consistent.  It pours out a mostly steady stream, though from time to time little globs of water break free of the flow and splatter recklessly on the sidewalk.

I could spend all day here.

What strikes me about this moment is that I feel perfectly at ease, at rest, a sensation far-too-foreign to my over-crowded schedule.  I’m not used to this, and in some ways I’m not even comfortable with it.

After all, I have e-mails to answer, projects to complete.  Who am I kidding, I have projects to continue, because it seems with every milestone I reach, I uncover three more barriers to completion, and even more projects to add to the pile.  It’s not ideal, but it’s familiar to fill my time with duties and do-lists, and somehow the more I get done, the better I feel about my life.

Sound familiar?

If it does, then you know the other side of the coin, too.  You know the dark side of accomplishment-based living is that you never seem to accomplish enough to feel like you deserve a break.  There’s always one more box to check, one more load of laundry to do, one more task to complete…. And it never ends.

This is why God commands us to Sabbath.

Look at what the writer of Hebrews tells us about God’s will for His people, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His.” -Hebrews 4:9-10

At the heart of the creative order is a cycle, a rhythm.  There is a flow to the way in which God’s universe operates, and He feels so strongly about us being in harmony with it that He took it upon Himself to actually live out what He commanded us to do.

He rested, because He wants us to rest.

However, for many of us it’s HARD!  It takes work to not work sometimes, because if we’re not careful we can get so overcome by the sense that we have things to do that we spend our “day of rest” in guilt over all the things we’re not accomplishing.

Yet, here is the problem with refusing to Sabbath.

When we don’t make time to rest, we are breaking the cycle that God designed to operate in our lives, and like little globs of water leaving the stream of a fountain, it’s not long before we find our hearts and minds and even our bodies splattered on the ground, useless and broken because we broke free of the flow.

We’re tired all the time with a bone-deep weariness that never goes away.

We’re frustrated all the time because we never feel like we’re doing enough.

We’re catching up all the time because we can’t quite seem to be as efficient as we used to be.

And our Heavenly Father grieves for His beloved children as we waste our best weeks, months and years on a treadmill that He never intended to run more than six days at a time.

Jesus said “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)  What He means is that God intended us to take a day of rest not out of duty, but out of delight.  It’s not a day for pious avoidance of enjoyable things, but a day to enjoy the life and the world God has given us, so that our hearts are re-tuned to worship Him in everything we do and our minds are re-focused to be more effective in the week ahead.

Here’s the thing.  To observe the Sabbath is an act of faith, because it forces us to actually trust God to manage our lives for a day without our intervention.  Put another way, Sabbath is a statement that God is in charge of the universe, not me.

The fountain doesn’t care about my schedule.

Maybe it’s time I took a day to stop caring so much about it, too.