What’s your take on the Sabbath? Only for worship and church? Or do you see it as a leisure day? Or a combination of both? Let’s look a bit more at this sometimes confusing subject.
“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is Sabbath to God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made heaven, earth, and sea, and everything in them; He rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; He set it apart as a holy day.” Exodus 20:8-11 The Message Bible
Hooray for small victories. I have finished the book; “When I Relax I Feel Guilty”. Wonders never cease and goals with accountability prove to be motivational once again. So a BIG thank you to all who read STATIC INTERFERENCE where I publicly stated I would finish this book by August’s end. Now that I accomplished this summer goal as promised, I will share a few things with you from the latter part of Tim Hansel’s book, “When I Relax I Feel Guilty” :
“Most of us fail to realize we have built into our calendars fifty-two miniature vacations every year. . . The principle of one day out of seven for worship and rest has been true since creation, but I know very few people who take that commandment seriously. I still struggle with it.
Again and again William McNamara’s comments about learning how to ‘waste’ that time for God’s sake come back to haunt me. ‘There is only one way to truly celebrate the Sabbath —and that is to waste it prodigiously. Until I can waste time prodigiously I do not take God seriously. If Christ is real, he must be able to hold me and captivate me.’ It is my acknowledgment of his sovereignty.
There must be a reason why rest was included in Creation, in the Ten Commandments, and why Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man. There must be a reason why the Sabbath is fifty-two times more important than any other ‘holy-day.’ ” Tim Hansel
So the overall message of the book for me is God wants me to relax because He knows I need it. He knows it will enhance my life in every aspect if I observe His Sabbath. I should not allow guilt to overcome me when I attempt to relax. I say attempt because it takes effort for me to relax which sounds like a complete oxymoron but it is reality for me. Busyness seems more natural but busyness is really something circumstances taught me. I fell prey to the busyness equals Godliness deception. Now after years of fast paced productivity for Jesus, I am tired and unable to relax.
But I am commanded to relax. If I don’t regularly set aside relaxing time, I will implode. That is in no way glorifying to God. In fact, I need to learn to be idle or still at least once a week. For a whole day. I definitely need prayer to accomplish this. Our societal demands make it next to impossible but we should not give up in despair. Our Father will show each of us how to honor Him and His Sabbath according to how He wired us. See the need and ask for His help.
How about you? Are you a whirling dervish of activity? Do you labor for the Lord and ignore the fourth commandment? I secretly wonder at times if illness is brought on by failing to slow down? When I am sick I am forced to slow down. Just a crumb for thought.
What about “wasting time prodigiously” ? Never heard that in Sunday School. I can barely bring myself to say I need to learn to WASTE TIME in a big way!!! That thought is completely foreign to me and seems so wrong. And yet Jesus did say the Sabbath was made for man. So I need my mind renewed in this area.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of the people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.’ ” Mark 2:27 New Living translation
We all need to be set apart to rest. To balance productivity with purposeful rest is a command from our heavenly Father, but how many of us honor that command? Six days of productivity, one day of rest. Sounds doable. Why is it so hard? I am too far on the productivity side expecting much more from myself than God does. Sounds like I think I know better than God. Sounds like I need to cease and desist from that practice! Lord, renew my mind in this area so I may better serve You during the productive times. Show me how to observe Your Sabbath and set it apart to enjoy You and FLURISH more. Rest, relaxation and time wasting, here I come! Just prayed and napped for an hour. Gotta start somewhere.
May you find the value of rest and refocus in your life as well. Time spent resting in Him in whatever way He directs you in your relationship with Him is priceless! And probably much more precious to Him than years of frenzied productivity.
Rest on. . .