The NCAA Sabbath

With softball team practices coming to an end last week, our practice time, alloted by the NCAA, changed from 20 hours (in-season) to 8 hours (off-season). At the end of practice on Friday, our coach announced that she would be giving us both Thursday and Friday afternoon off this week; there would be no “individuals” scheduled. I turned, with I am sure a very confused expression on my face, to my assistant coach and whispered the question, why? In my mind I was thinking why would we take off two days? That’s two days to work hard and get better…to work even more toward our goal of Regionals!

My coach responded saying that they simply wanted to give us the days off. In further thought, I recognized the gift of those days off! We would clearly come back to practice on Monday rested and focused to get back to work.

I constantly struggle with the idea of rest. As someone who has been busy with both sports and school as long as I can remember, most often, the words “rest” and “relax” are not in my vocabulary.

Interestingly, since the creation of the world, literally, God values rest.

Genesis 2:2-3 says, “…so on the seventh day He rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

God later includes the importance of the Sabbath when He gives Moses the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai.

Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…”

While we remember that we are no longer bounded to the original law through the blood of Jesus, it is very important to take this idea of rest and make it a priority in our lives.

Coincidentally, even in our fast-paced culture and with our no-days-off mentality, the NCAA still, in some way, values the traditional day of Sabbath.

According to the NCAA Bylaw 17.1.5.4 Required Day Off – Playing Season, “During the playing season, all countable athletically related activities (per Bylaw 17.02.1) shall be prohibited during one calendar day per week…”

It’s not merely a coincidence that all NCAA college athletes are required to have at least one day off in season, and at least two days off out of season. There is also a reason that we are not “in-season” all year long. We remember that God knows what is the best for our mental, physical and spiritual beings. Going 100 percent, 100 percent of the time is simply impossible. If God took a day of rest and at one point said a day of rest was a good idea, I think we should listen!

Because there is so much about rest, I am going to make this a 3-or-4-part series. In the future weeks look forward to some of these points:

Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 119:45 says, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “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.”

In the meantime, if you have any thoughts, comments, or wisdom on rest, feel free to leave them on this entry or send me an e-mail.

We have a lot to learn on the topic of rest! I look forward to exploring what the Lord says about rest with you in the weeks to come.

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