“Even now one is ashamed of resting, and prolonged reflection almost gives people a bad conscience. One thinks with a watch in one’s hand, even as one eats one’s midday meal while reading the latest news of the stock market; one lives as if one ‘might miss out on something.’ ‘Rather do anything than nothing’: this principle, too, is merely a string to throttle culture and good taste. …Virtue has come to consist of doing something in less time than someone else. …How frugal our educated—and uneducated—people have become regarding ‘joy!’ How they are becoming increasingly suspicious of all joy! More and more, work enlists all good conscience on its side; the desire for joy already calls itself a ‘need to recuperate’ and is beginning to be ashamed of itself. ‘One owes it to one’s health’—that is what people say when they are caught on an excursion into the country. Soon we may well reach the point where people can no longer give into the desire for a vita contemplativa (that is, taking a walk with ideas and friends) without self-contempt and a bad conscience.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Well, formerly, it was the other way around: it was work that was afflicted with the bad conscience. A person of good family used to conceal the fact that he was working if need compelled him to work. Slaves used to work, oppressed by the feeling that they were doing something contemptible. ‘Nobility and honour are attached solely to otium [leisure] and bellum [war],’ that was the ancient prejudice. Nietzsche’s point is: if we managed to remove our collective guilt about enjoying ourselves, then the culture of only taking time off when we are allowed by some outside force or by some inner self-controller might be damaged. The word leisure, incidentally, comes from the Latin licere, meaning “to be permitted.” We have given responsibility for our free time to others, and we only have ourselves to blame.” Tom Hodgkinson
“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:
for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- You can see the “ancient prejudice” against work. Can you also see the modern prejudice against leisure?
- Do you feel you need to justify days off? …recreation? …taking a walk? …a nap?
- Would you rather “do anything than nothing?” Do you keep moving out of a sense of guilt?
Abba, break my obsession with doing and my pride in rejecting joy.
For More: How To Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God. I hope you’ll follow/share my blog. Thanks! – Bill
“We all know how unsatisfying mere leisure can be. We’ve all known what it’s like to return to the classroom or the workplace after a time spent in revelry or retreat, in high jinks or hibernation: typically, we go back weary and depressed, like jailbirds caught. The time away from work wasn’t time sanctified so much as time stolen, time when we escaped for a short-lived escapade. The difference between this and Sabbath couldn’t be sharper. Sanctifying some time adds richness to all time, just as an hour with the one you love brings light and levity to the hours that follow. To spend time with the object of your desire is to emerge, not sullen and peevish, but elated and refreshed. You come away filled, not depleted. …We resist that which six days of coming and going, pushing and pulling, dodging and weaving, fighting and defending have bred into us. What we deny ourselves is our well-trained impulses to get and to spend and to make and to master. This day, we go in a direction we’re unaccustomed to, unfamiliar with, that the other six days have made seem unnatural to us. …Sabbath is time sanctified, time betrothed…. We are more intimate with it. We are more thankful for it. We are more protective of it and generous with it. We become more ourselves in the presence of Sabbath: more vulnerable, less afraid. More ready to confess, to be silent, to be small, to be valiant.” Mark Buchanan
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and Yahweh’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in Yahweh….”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- When you return from time off are you “weary and depressed” or “elated and refreshed?” Why is that?
- Is God speaking to you through any of these words about Sabbath? Which ones? Saying what?
- Would you benefit from blocking out one day a week to be “with the object of your desire?” Will you take your calendar and do it now?
Abba, thank you for the life-giving oasis of Sabbath rest.
For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”