According to “Project: Time Off” the number of vacation days that Americans take has declined dramatically since 2000. For decades, they took 20.3 days off per year. The trend ticked slightly upward from below 16 in 2014 to 17.2 days taken in 2017. Reportedly, 52% of the workforce has unused vacation from the last year. In a 2018 report by CNBC, 49% of Americans interviewed said they were not taking a vacation this year. Non-vacationers point to reasons such as not having enough money, family obligations, and feeling like there’s too much work to do.
Even when we do go on vacation, we are constantly “on.” This has severely affected the travel industry, leading some locales to incentivize “no cell phone zones.” For example, if you agree to lock up your cell phone during dinner at one hotel, you’ll be entered in a drawing to receive a $500 voucher. (I am not making this up.)
Statistics show that the number of goods and services a worker can produce in an hour’s time has increased 127% between 1947 and 2002 (mostly because of new technology). Yet, Americans on average work almost one month more each year than they did in 1964.
I imagine that these statistics might resonate with you. Maybe you didn’t take a vacation last year. Maybe your employer doesn’t pay for time off. Maybe you take your cell phone with you everywhere, answering emails on your day off.
When was the last time you really rested? It took man falling asleep for a helper to emerge. This tells us more than the fact that giving anesthesia before surgery was first a divine idea. It reminds us that humans had to let God do the work. Having a helper also means you must give up something of yourself; you cannot do it all alone.
How would you describe the quality of your rest? How is your rest related to God’s work in you?
God, you repeatedly remind us that we need rest. Teach us to take your Sabbath. Help us welcome those who lighten our load along the way. Amen.