I bought my first computer in 1982, a Commodore 64. It used a 340k floppy disc and operated with machine language. After typing in the machine code, the little floppy started to whirr ... and whirr ... and whirr a little more. It whirred so long that I could get a cup of coffee or make a sandwich. When it finally loaded the program it worked great: word processing, spreadsheets, database and games, with surprisingly good graphics. With each program change, I started the process all over again, something they called “booting up.”
I think the term came from the farm. You didn’t want to track that barnyard stuff into the house, so when you went inside, you took your boots off. And, when you wanted to go to work. You put your boots back on. So, for the little PC, we put our boots on, or “booted up” the program if we wanted to go to work or play.
I graduated from the Commodore to an IBM compatible Compaq that ran MS-DOS. The screen lit up with an eerie green glow and pulled its data from two floppy discs, one of which I replaced with a hard drive. In those days PC users were kind of like shade tree mechanics. You just plugged and unplugged exchangeable parts and turned it on. It seemed to work.
It took a long time for me to convert to Microsoft Windows, but I finally made the leap. So, today, I use a DELL laptop and sometimes throw up my hands in exasperation when the Windows 10 operating system demands an “update.”
I usually leave it in sleep mode so it wakes right up and we get going whenever I want. I get my cup of coffee before I turn it on. I like leaving my “boots” on with my laptop. But sooner or later, it slows down. It begins to creep along. The mouse drags or freezes in place and I am stuck. It has too much going on in its PC memory, too many programs trying to run at once. Too much “barnyard stuff” tracked in and making it stink. There is nothing to do but “reboot” it. So, I turn it off and let it reload the operating system. After the “reboot,” we are good to go and back up to speed.
We are a lot like my computer. We fly from one task to another, filling our lives with frenzied activity, trying to constantly multi-task between family, business, community and personal obligations. We freeze up. We are no longer efficient. We do nothing well. Sometimes we need to “reboot.”
This is why God gave us the Sabbath. It is the fourth of the ten “Big Ones.” And, as Jesus pointed out, it was given to us by God because we need it. “Man was not made for the Sabbath,” Jesus said. “The Sabbath was made for man.”
If we want to live full, meaningful, productive and effective lives, we need time for worship and rest. We need to “reboot” physically, emotionally and spiritually. We are made in such a way that we have to power down if we want to power up. This means turning off the TV, disconnecting from social media and taking a deep breath. We need to listen the laughter of children, to birds singing, the wind in the trees, waves lapping on the shore and listening to God. Meditations in the Psalms and the Sermon on the Mount help me most.
We need to take the Apostle Paul’s advice: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8