Posted by on 20 March 2013 | 108 Comments

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During my sabbatical, it has been easier to find rest than normal.  My schedule has been pretty full at times, but even when full, it has not, for the most part, had the nagging urgency of 'Do it now!' screaming at me.  But soon, it is back to reality.  Back to... well, back to the ordinary, with all that that entails.

Amd so I'm asking myself how to incorporate Sabbath into life.  And it ought not be rocket science.  After all, as a pastor, the command to observe a one-out-of-seven Sabbath day should at this point be second nature.  Just as it should be for any of us who have walked for any period of time with the Lord.

So....  Why is Sabbath so readily desecrated by North American Christians?  Well, on the final leg of my sabbatical, I am reading Louie Giglio's book "I am not, but I know 'I AM'" and here I find myself in the ninth chapter reading about furious rest.  And it is here that I find my whole view of Sabbath being reframed in a very helpful way.  And so, I'm sharing a few of Louie's thoughts.  I hope if you like these thoughts as much as I do, you'll buy a copy of the book for the other ten chapters.

The first thought is a simple truth:  We need Sabbath to remind ourselves that 'God is God and we are not'!  Now, if we truly embrace this simple thought then we are free to say.  'Everything does NOT hinge on me.' 'If I stop doing my part, the whole world will NOT fall apart.' 'I am NOT in control.' 'GOD made the world in six days WITHOUT any input from me, or my assistance.' 'I am little.' 'God is huge.' 'I trust Him.'  When I read these truths, I start to realize that without Sabbath, I can easily fall into busyness, and the mindset that this breeds:  It all depends on me.  And in case that doesn't translate clearly, let me say it another way.

Pride.  If I cannot trust God, and take the rest He designed for me, I have missed a core truth of our faith:

God is I AM.  I am NOT! 

But how do I get there?  How do I move myself into the place of Sabbath rest?  Why does it seem so difficult?  Well here's the second thought for you.  Read Genesis chapter one.  The first chapter covers 'in the beginning' through to the end of the sixth day.  In chapter one, God creates... Creation.  And during day six, he creates mankind - Adam and Eve.  But look at this!

God gives man a job:  Be fruitful and multiply.  Fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.  Now if you think about it, you soon realize that God has assigned to Adam and Eve a very daunting task.  It's a big job that the Creator has laid before them.  And so they lie down to get some sleep, awaken the next morning ready to tear into their assignment and...

...it's the Sabbath!  God looks at Adam and Eve and says, "Time to rest!"  Adam and Eve look at one another in bewilderment.  But God has spoken.  And so, the first couple sit down.  And something beautiful happens.  Before they go forth to leave their mark on Creation, they actually stand back and take in what God has laid before them.  Could we learn from this example?  Before we sign up for another shift so we can have the money so we can drive the kids to their dance, piano, and hockey programs, all the while trying to squeeze in three mornings at the gym so we can keep running from one commitment to the next to the next to the next to the next to the next....

What would happen if we set aside a day to simply appreciate what God has already given to us, instead of chasing after what we believe justifies our not stopping?  To not stop is to be disobedient.  Why do we do this?  

Pride. If I cannot trust God, and take the rest He designed for me, I have missed a core truth of our faith:

God is I AM. I am NOT!

But still, how do I get there?  There are only seven days, and there is so much to do.  Sunday rolls around, and I have so many loose ends to tie up.  I cannot afford to rest! 

OK.  I hear you.  But listen:  Here is thought number three. Here's how you begin Sabbath in your life.  Just get ready!  Set.  Now go to a calender and take a look.  Sunday - Sabbath - does not fall on the last day of the week.  It falls on the first day of the week.  Stay with me here.  What would happen if, instead of looking at Sunday as a day to catch up on everything you didn't get to during the week, you looked at Sunday as the beginning of the week.  You start the week by resting - just like Adam and eve before you - and if you feel you're a little behind, you've still got all week to catch up!  It seems so easy, when you put it that way, doesn't it? 

At the end of the day, Sabbath is a question of faith and trust in God.  And if I cannot trust God, and take the rest He designed for me, I have missed a core truth of our faith:

God is I AM. I am NOT!

God has designed us for Sabbath.  When God rested on the seventh day, he didn't need it.  But we did.  And do.  I do.  You do.  We all need a day called Sabbath.  God has wired us for it.  He has commanded it.  And so, we benefit in every way when we rest.

Be still, and know I am God.

Be still and know I AM (is) God.

 

 

 

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