Rest for the Weary (and Everyone Else)
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. (Exodus 20:8-10a, ESV)
In order to become a better golfer, you must practice. Counter to what we think, it’s not quantity that makes a difference, but purposeful practice that does. While amateurs need more, tour pros tend to work at it too much, failing to recognize the benefits of rest.
Two weeks ago, I shared that work is a gift from God, we all have unique work to do, and work is a form of worship. Seeing work from God’s viewpoint helps us understand more deeply his command to observe a Sabbath on the seventh day.
If the Hebrew word for Sabbath is Shabbat, meaning to cease, then Sabbath translates to a day of ceasing. Often we believe we are to do this for the Lord’s benefit, but Jesus said, “…the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
I’ve been challenged on several occasions by friends to practice Sabbath. It has been a struggle because I have an internal fear that I haven’t done enough. More honestly, the lie the evil one seethes at me is that I am not enough, making sabbath feel counterintuitive.
During this Lenten season, I have been meditating on Brad Gray’s Sabbath series at walkingthetext.com. It has pushed me to evaluate my pursuit of observing Sabbath and its importance in my (our) walk with Jesus. Let me share a few of these thoughts.
Observing Sabbath requires trust. In his work, The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan writes, “Unless we trust God’s sovereignty, we won’t dare risk Sabbath.” Do you trust God’s sovereignty for your life, or are you trusting yourself?
Observing Sabbath provides rhythm. God created in six days and rested on the seventh. In music, the break in the beat (the rest notes) gives music its soul. The same is true for our lives. According to Gray, “Our life becomes noise when it has no break. The rest is central and core to the beat of our life.”
Observing Sabbath alters perspective. We are distracted, busy people and our vision toward life gets blurry. Sabbath puts every person on equal ground, awakens the importance of relationships, and helps our soul embrace our deficits.
Observing Sabbath establishes identity. We are not what we do; our value and worth is in being a child of God. We are human beings, not human doings.
Observing Sabbath releases freedom. Sabbath rest opens space for restoration and healing. Did you know Jesus did most of his miracles on the Sabbath?
Only two essentials are required for Sabbath: Do it, and cease your typical work done on the other six days. From that basis, be creative and be intentional. Step away from your phone and emails. Reconnect with family and friends. Engage in delight and play. Seek the presence of God, his Word, and his love.
April 11, 2019
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