“It’s ok to not do it all.” I don’t know about you but sometimes I need to hear these words. Over and over actually. Recently you may have seen my article about rest and the hard lesson I had to learn. Since that experience I have been doing studying, devotions, and praying about rest and soul care. In a recent devotional, entitled “Soul Rest” a phrase that Curtis Zackery uses made me take note. In talking about sabbath rest he referenced the phrase “the idol of productivity.”
When I read those words, I stopped comprehending the rest of the devotional I was reading because the phrase hit me so hard. I quickly started researching the word idol. By definition this word means an object of extreme devotion, a symbol of worship. By Christian definition we’ve been taught an idol is anything taking the place of God in our lives.
My continued study brought me to Exodus where we find the famed Ten Commandments. Number two on the list is as follows:
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” (Exodus 20:4-6 NLT)
I remember as a Sunday school student thinking about how good I was after the first two commandments, I didn’t take the Lord’s name in vain and I didn’t have any fake statues of gods in my house. Somehow as we trickle into adulthood the same thinking follows us. But a closer look at the definition of idols make me think twice. Especially this day. “The idol of productivity” The phrase took over my thoughts for the next couple days. Not only that phrase but the second part of the commandment found in Exodus. “I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.”
What example was I setting for my children? We get so caught up in making a good life for them that we don’t live it with them. If they don’t see me setting aside time to rest, to obey the commands of God, why would they make it a priority? It’s made me take a hard look at our parenting and how we are allowing outside influences, good and bad dictate our time and thoughts.
I want to be part of the end of this verse, “But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” It’s made me assess everything in our house. Activities, commitments, events, family things, good and bad all are assessed to make an action plan moving forward that will create margin in our individual lives and as a family to rest and obey the commands of the Lord. I want to lay a good foundation for future generations and it starts with me and my schedule. It’s been another reminder that the life God gave us here on earth isn’t just about us. It’s about the future generations and the things, including habits, we leave behind when we are gone.
Father, I pray that You would illuminate our lives. Help us to create margin and room for You. May our sole purpose be to bring You glory and set the next generation up for success by our example. Amen.