Dear Sabbath Seekers,
I once heard story about a woman who worked with a group of Christians who were rescuing refugees from a brutal government in Central America. Her job was to swim people to safety across a river each night. Night after night she would ferry 10-15 people to sanctuary from the war and violence. On the seventh night she was surprised to find that their camp was not preparing to rescue that evening and in fact there would be a celebration, a party of sorts.
She was furious and refused to participate in any type of celebration when there was still so much to do. The head of the group came to her to find out why she would not join in and after hearing her explanation told her to pack her bags and go home. She could no longer be part of the rescue efforts.
Flabbergasted she asked why and he gently told her that without a rest and a time to praise God for their success, what they were doing was meaningless. Either she rested and celebrated the many blessings already received from God or she go home.
In essence she was refusing a Sabbath. Sabbath is commanded as a time of rest after six days of labor. Sabbath is a time to rest and give thanks to God for all our blessings. Sabbath is a time to celebrate with God and to refresh ourselves in God’s presence.
How often do you and I feel that we can’t possibly rest because there is so much to do? How many find it almost impossible to rest surrounded by the very things that need to be attended to? And what if when we refuse to rest, God were to come to us and say, “Sorry, Nancy, but you will need to go because I can’t use you on my team any more. You are trying to do things your way and not mine.”
Whoa…that would not sit well on my ears. And yet, time after time, I do just that. Continue to do things my way ignoring the command to make Sabbath a part of my busy life. I am not so important that stopping what I am doing will change one thing in the grand scheme of things. My life is busy because I have chosen to make it so. And for some reason I have come to think that taking a Sabbath is my choice. It’s not, actually it is a command – of God.
Where are you practicing Sabbath arrogance and ignoring the command to rest and keep the seventh day holy?
This week every time you find yourselves pushing through your busy life thinking you will never get done, STOP. Stop and take a breath and remember that God provides that breath, all your wonderful talents and the time to use them in the context of your life which includes Sabbath rest.
“Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy…On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.” Exodus 20.8ff