The self-discipline to keep the Sabbath day a rest day is a topic we don’t hear about too much.

It takes self-control to switch off and take some rest in the 21st century with the draw of the ever-present ping, and the urgency of notifications when being lost in a good book or a walk in nature is far more


I once lived in a house robbed by a sneak thief, a quiet intruder who slips into your home and steals expensive items — a camera, laptop, chargers and sentimental sparkly treasures.

The difference between a sneak thief and a usual house thief is that it's not a blatant theft, but one discovered sometime later.

That is what I feel like in today's modern society — the sneak thief intrudes and steals until our health, sleep, and relationships begin to recognize that something is missing.

This holiday weekend is called Labour Day. We think of it as a weekend to unwind and relax, the final warm days of the North American summer, a chance to camp or hit the beach.

Labour Day started as a revolution to change workers' rights, with riots and protests.

In the 1880s, some workers worked 60 hours per week until they changed the law. “Labour Day marks a new epoch in the annals of human history,” wrote Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, 1910.

“Among all the festive days of the year...there is not one which stands so conspicuously for the social advancement of the common people as the first Monday in September.”

Things have changed with the introduction of the minimum wage; workers have rights, working conditions have changed from the harsh and inhumane conditions of the 19th century.

I am confident that many of us are grateful for this.

We live amongst other tyrannies today; many sneak thieves are lurking around our homes. We never stop working, texting, emails and endlessly checking.

When the Ten Commandments were spoken, this was the first time in an ancient culture that ordinary people were given rest.

God cares about our well-being. We all need at least one day to rest our mind, body, and soul. We all need to create boundaries that help our mental health, a time to work and play — to spend some quality time with loved ones and care for ourselves. We are encouraged in scripture to guard our lives, our hearts, our homes.

Let’s RSVP to a well-known invitation this Labour Day weekend from Matthew 11:28-20 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Phil Collins is pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.