Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The purpose of Sabbath is not simply to renew ourselves so that we can be more productive during the rest of the week. It is a time set aside to enjoy God and the life he has given us. It is a time when we are set free from anything that keeps us bound up—or maybe I should say wound up!
Working in ministry means that Sunday is rarely a Sabbath day of rest for me. However, Sunday afternoons are the highlight of my week. It is the time my extended family sets aside to have Sunday lunch and to visit with each other. It’s also important for me to make time during the week to escape from work responsibilities and relax thanking God for the many blessings I have.
At Sabbath rest we don’t simply rest the body, we also rest our minds and souls.
Psalm 91: 1&2 tells us He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”
For quality Sabbath rest for our mind, body, and soul we need to experience quiet. Where can we find privacy and silence?
England’s Kind George V was asked what he would do if he could do anything he pleased. “He replied that he would take his biggest car and drive and drive as far as it would take him. There he would find a little farmhouse, and in the farmhouse there would be a small, clean whitewashed room, furnished only with a bed and an open fire. He would lie down on the bed, and lying so, alone in the small, clean room, he would look at the glowing coals of the fire, and the flames playing blue about them –and so he would rest. For once in a royal lifetime he would rest.”
Where do you go to find the peace and quiet that will allow you to fully experience Sabbath rest?
The Sabbath rest is an opportunity to rest our souls. Jesus urges us to come to him, the Lord of Rest, “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” (Matthew 11:28–29).
In this passage we see that Jesus draws us to him so that he can carry for us the assaults of the world. When we feel weary, tired, put upon, frustrated, sad, stressed, he is there to give us rest. He wants us to find time in the week to just rest in him because he knows how we struggle throughout the week. Corrie ten Boom described this rest, “Don’t wrestle, just nestle.”
The Sabbath rest is an opportunity for us to contemplate. We consider the things that keep us from moving forward in our faith, the issues that keep us from having full communion with our Heavenly Father. Fractured relationships are often the greatest detractor from rest. Poor relationships in the home, with friends, at work, at church, in the neighborhood, or with God keep us from experiencing God fully. When strife enters, rest flees. We need to deal with unresolved conflicts in order to experience emotional rest. The Sabbath is a good time to consider forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Sabbath rest is a time to experience joy. After creating the world, God looked around and saw that “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God did not just cease from his labor; he stopped and enjoyed what he had made. Isn’t it joyful to take time to savor our lives, to enjoy the fruits of our labors? The whole point of Sabbath is to enjoy what God has done in us, through us, and for us.
Sabbath rest doesn’t have to be filled with time spent in total silence. Relaxation and freedom from work can mean a lot of different things. How can you experience joy and praise God? We can take a nap, visit with family, enjoy a meal, take a walk, read a book.
Another purpose of Sabbath is to recharge us. What recharges you? If you are an introverted, task-oriented person, you may be drained from encounters with people throughout the week. You might find it relaxing and energizing to spend time alone. If you are an extroverted, people person, you may have spent all of your energy in doing task oriented, draining details. You will want to spend time building relationships.
Your personality traits will give you clues about what refreshes your spirit. Remember to live in those strengths.
What is favorite way to enjoy the Sabbath?