I often times tell people if there were two disciplines beyond prayer and bible reading that I wish I could help people grow in, they would be keeping a sabbath and tithing. These disciplines hit at the heart of our culture’s infatuation with time and money.
The Sabbath commandment is one that comes with some instruction. 1) Keep it Holy and 2) Rest. The Hebrew word behind “holy” or “sacred” means to set something apart. Specifically, holy means for something to be set apart for God. So how do you “set apart” or keep holy some form of Sabbath Day?
When we lived in Hot Springs, Monday was my Sabbath. Sunday was too much of a marathon. The “holy” part of my Monday Sabbath when I was diligent was going to a sit spot in nature. At my sit spot I had a routine or ritual of prayer that I observed, then I either sat and observed or wandered. When I sat, I would become absolutely still for sometimes as much as an hour at a time. I would do what a friend of mine calls, “Losing your mind and coming to your senses.” I slowed my mind down and systematically surrendered my attention to my senses in order to soak in the beauty of God’s creation. It was like lovingly becoming engrossed by a portrait your child has placed on the refrigerator. Only God is an amazingly more accomplished artist working with an infinitely huge palette of living cells and organic material. The time was restorative beyond words.
The “rest” part of my Monday Sabbath often included a lengthy nap and/or time spent just being with my wife, Susan. Some times I ran errands or caught up on some lingering life task, but I tried to resist anything that would tax me. If I was going to experience something as a load or demand on me, I tried to save it for another day.
Isn’t it nice to realize that one thing that God fully expects and desires of you is pausing. Rest and restoration are essentials of being faithful to God. What a loving God we serve. If only we were so good to ourselves. When and how do you rest? Do you ever actually set aside a day to just rest? What would it take for you to do so?
Lastly, if you are concerned about the time demand of taking a Sabbath, I have to tell you that when I am diligent about holding a Sabbath, it always redeems itself. When you are rested you are incredibly more effective and productive. Not only that, but your quality of life is dramatically increased if nothing else because of the lack of stress that fatigue induces. Truth be told, you can’t afford not to rest.
It’s time for me to figure out the new Sabbath equation here. Today, I collapsed into a two hour nap that could have been misread as a coma. I would have like to have done that out of love of me and faithfulness to God, but it wasn’t. Better yet, wouldn’t it be great to be rested enough that my body didn’t crave a nap at all?
As you consider your Sabbath formula, realize that it may look radically different from mine. Consider where and how you most readily encounter God. If at all possible include some form of worship in your Sabbath Day. Try to create something that has a pattern to it. Having a pattern of Sabbath will help you stay more faithful to it.
Blessings to you from the Practical Disciple as you seek to find your Sabbath Formula.
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I have always felt guilty for “resting”. With so much to do, it felt like I was wasting valuable time. Good to know I am expected to rest. Thanks
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