I have happy memories of a day long ago when I was a medical student at St Andrews University. I remember walking through the cobbled streets on a warm summer day down to the beach, reflecting as I strolled along. I was mainly reflecting on the blessings of the Lord’s day, because it was the Sunday of exams week and I was free to worship and relax.
As I walked, I observed other students looking worn and stressed. One friend dashed past and stopped briefly to ask me what I was doing. My reply that I was enjoying the rest God has given us on the weekly Sabbath made him shake his head and reply that it was exams week, and how could I neglect my studies?
I explained that I hadn’t. I had worked hard over the preceding days and would do so throughout the week ahead. But not on that day. Not on any Lord’s day. It was a privilege and joy to set the day apart for God’s special service and to be free to rest and recuperate.
We were created like this, to work for six days but to enjoy a weekly Sabbath free from the burdens of secular work. Studies have shown we perform better in academic and other areas when we don’t flog ourselves day after day.