When was the last time you actually took a day and did no work, just rested?
Our bodies need rest and so does our mind but I think that one of the many reasons it’s so hard to take a Sabbath for many of us is because of this way of thinking of it. We think that the Sabbath is a rest for the week but its real intention is that the week would be for the rest. It’s not that we rest so we can work it’s that we work so we can rest. The six days of the week are a struggle to subdue the world and the one day is to struggle with the self. Maybe if we viewed it in this light it would be a little easier, but it’s never easy. It’s only a day of rest right? Who wouldn’t want that? WRONG! Sabbath can be a very difficult process. We often expect it to be easy so when we find that it’s hard for us to do nothing, to struggle with the self, we give up on it; it doesn’t meet our expectations.
Anything we do in harmony with God is difficult. It’s hard because we’re not really used to it, are we?
What if the Sabbath is actually “the end?” a symbolic of “the end,” The way God wants it to be? If our work is a means to an end and we work for the Sabbath maybe the Sabbath is the end to that means in some important sense.
Think back to Genesis. When God creates everything around us and sees that it’s good what does He do? Yeah! He rests, He stops, He’s finished it. At that moment when God stops… it’s at perfect Harmony. Everything is right. But we know what happens next. Man (Adam and Eve) screws it up and now there’s no harmony, there’s work to be done. We now share in Gods work to redeem everything and bring it back to harmony. We are “planting the trees of Eden.”
When we take a Sabbath we’re doing a lot of things. One of those important things we are doing is symbolizing the work of God being as good as finished. We are trusting God, that He’s got it figured out and of course we don’t but He does. Do we know that? Intellectually, yeah, But do we know that? Dow we trust that God is bigger than us and do we act it out? Do we live it?
In the Sabbath we live at Harmony with God. Our lives stop and we wrestle ourselves into submission and into synchronization once again with God, for the work is finished.
14But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do
any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or
your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your
towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15Remember that you were a slave
in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a
mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you
to keep the Sabbath day.
Great post Wes. I think you hit one major point that I know I have never thought about before, that we don't rest so that we can work, but we work so that we can rest. Even after enjoying a nice, long 4 hour nap today I felt that now I could, almost more so that I had to, go back to working because I had rested. I think so often we loose focus, especially of all of these old testament laws. Something like rest is so important. I know when I don't rest enough, I feel it, like right now, I have been staying up late and waking up early and now I feel like I am going to pass out and die, (well not completly, lol). Great thoughts!!! Keep it up!
A shameless use of your blogsite, Wes: would you and those posters who come here, please pray for Amanda? There is some sort of spiritual oppression on campus, and she is feeling it very strongly personally. Please pray for her protection, and that the Lord will teach her through this to be a stronger warrior herself.
I am really glad that you posted this becuase sabbath is some sort of enigma that i have such a hard time figuring out. There are way too many days when I try to take this rest and end of stressing myself over what it really means, trying to figure out exactly what I am supposed to be doing instead of just resting. I would really like to continue some sort of dialogue on this or really find some answer about it... I will be watching for any other thoughts.
My design class has been discussing the same thing - how important rest is to the artist time. Taking time just to 'be'. Just to listen. It's so hard when everything around you is just going, going, going. But I like to see it as a scehduled necessity - not that I schedule what I'm doing to rest, but I schedule a day to do it in.
A different perspective. Karen Mains (co-author of the Tales of the Kingdom series)looks at the Sabbath as a day of rejoicing and rest from the battle. She cites the Jewish way: on the Sabbath, one gathers with one's family and remembers the goodness of God and His many blessings. The next two days are spent remembering the warm glow of the Sabbath gathering. On Wednesday (our mid-week, if we celebrate Sabbath on Sunday) one begins to look ahead to the next gathering, and making preparations. A special dinner? Friends over? A special outing? A particular movie, or book? Thursday, Friday and Saturday are spent in anticipation and loving preparation. And then, Sunday again. The cycle keeps the Sabbath ever in mind, ever intentional, and ever driving the week, rather than just becoming a time of collapse.
Interesting isn't it?
Another thing the jews did as they gathered is they would tell stories. They'd absalutely celebrate. Do we know how to celebrate?
I think most people have lost the 'joyful abandon' part of celebrating. They look to be entertained, rather than simply celebrating.
Another thought, sometimes being incredible busy - to the point where we think we have no time to rest, can be a form of decievement. We take no time to reflect on God's work in our lives, and see connections between events. We don't take the time to figure out why something is wrong, if it is wrong. Determine a source of spiritual attack.
Yet another positive of rest! Speaking, of which, I finally made a day with nothing to do but have fun and rejoice! :)
Amanda, I'm really glad you made a day! Let me know how it goes.
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