“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy…” Genesis 2:2-3
I have had a cold of some kind since Friday afternoon when I began coming down with symptoms. I am not letting you know this so I can garner sympathy from anyone but just to let you know how I came to have some time to just rest…more so than normal. So…since Friday afternoon I have not done a lot except rest, make some soup, sneeze, and blow my nose. I have also done a little reading, not a lot as my eyes have been very tired. I have watched countless hours of TV… (Netflix or BritBox…I don’t do commercials.) I was also very grateful for a three day weekend and a job that allows for more flexible hours when one is under the weather. But through all this I was struck by how perfect is God’s timing. Even in the small details.
So, I mentioned I did a little reading. Well, what I was reading was the book I am currently using to lead a Bible Study at the church on Monday night. We are looking at the Biblical book of Leviticus and how we can find the Gospel within Old Testament law. Trust me it is there. This is also a great book so if you are interested it is by David Kalas entitled: “The Gospel According to Leviticus: Finding God’s Love in God’s Law.” So in my forced rest, I found myself reading the chapter about Sabbath. BTW…not only is God’s timing perfect, so is God’s sense of humor! What I began to realize is that while I preach about Sabbath, I even try to ensure I take Sabbath time so I do get rest…I am not sure I fully understood all that Sabbath means to me personally, to all of us globally, and to the earth environmentally. Sabbath is a teaching we have relegated to the meaningless category in our 24/7/365 day world. We are always on. Everything is always available. Everything is always at our disposal. We have no true down time. Why?
Well for starters we think the Law of the Old Testament belongs in the Old Testament. We are New Testament people right? Wrong! Jesus taught the scriptures and the only scriptures Jesus had to teach were the Old Testament writings. So what Jesus taught…just in a new way…was the Old Testament, which means we need to pay attention to the Old Testament. But we in our modern sensibilities have deemed those ancient writings to be outdated, old fashioned, and meaningless. May I just say this: we are wrong…wrong…wrong.
God wrote the law of Sabbath into creation. It was instituted on the seventh day. It is a part of our very DNA. We need rest. This is a scientific fact. God even said the Sabbath was holy and in giving us the command to honor Sabbath, God called us to remember. But we have a tendency to say, as soon as the work is done, I will rest. Even though we have been given six days to work and prepare for a seventh day of rest. Now let me be clear here, our Sabbath rest does not have to occur on Sunday. We just need to take it…whenever. Rest is important to our bodies overall health. Rest is important for our mental health. Rest allows us to take a break from our regular routines and gives us the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Rest: it does a body good.
So why don’t we take Sabbath Rest? For me, and for those times I don’t take a Sabbath, my answer is an honest “I don’t know.” It is something I think God wants me to do, wants me to understand, and wants me to honor. I believe God was calling me to remember just how important Sabbath really is this past weekend and I believe I am going to try my very best to remember. I am sure there will be times I will forget. I am sure I will make mistakes as I try to honor Sabbath rest. But I am going to redouble my efforts and find ways to have one day each week where I honor Sabbath, where I rest and where I enjoy the fruits of my labor. Wish me luck!
My challenge to all of you is that you are able to find ways to Remember and honor Sabbath in your life.