Summer and Sabbath Rest

Mark 2:27 ESV And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Here is a prayer I plan on sneaking in for y’all on a semi-regular basis: “Lord, please give them Sabbath rest.”

I can’t tell you how often I see what looks like deep fatigue on many of your faces on Sunday mornings. Given that most of you do not burn the midnight oil or are raging the night away in some wild party, it simply means you are very busy. When the Wednesday Bible Class would show up at church at 6pm, a number were virtually nodding off in their chairs! Not because of my scintillating expository instruction mind you…

Why?

Among our folks at church, it is almost a badge of honor to be able to list with numerical glee all the activities which are keeping you whizzing from one place to the next. We have a deep suspicion for unstructured time because we’ve been taught it is the devil’s workshop. Additionally, I’m pretty certain there is an unspoken competition going on for who is run the most ragged.

Again, why?

Now I’m not in agreement with what Carl Jung (the famous analytical psychologist) theorized, but he was spot on when he boldly proclaimed, “Hurry is not of the devil, hurry is the devil.”

We’ve mistaken a harried existence for that which honors God. However, if we really break down our time and how we allocate it, are we honoring the One who seeks for us the rest we are to have only in Him? Jesus told his disciples that the Sabbath was meant to be a God given blessing for their benefit. Yet if you listened to the leadership at that time, it was about ridged adherence to specific rules and regulations purported to make our heavenly Father happy. It’s bloody hard to focus on the warm fuzzies we are promised if we are overwhelmed with nit picky details of what qualifies as “allowable.”

Christ clarified to them they just needed to stop and chill out. “Be still and know that I am God.” If you need to “do,” make it only the necessities like feeding the animals, or eating, or loving on someone who needs you. Otherwise, recharge your batteries with some holy rest, some holy quiet, and some holy prayer in His presence. The key was understanding that as long as we kept engaging in activities that kept us from being with God, from being still and listening for God, the more plum tired we became. Life doesn’t come from the stuff we do, but from the one who is its source. This is why the Sabbath was so important. Every one of you knows the cordless trimmer will do very little work if it doesn’t have a full charge. Are you structuring your Sabbaths to recharge your life with God or merely to drain the life out of you? The devil clicks his heels in delight when we are not renewed in our Sabbath rest because he can tempt us, and lead us into sin much more easily.

Take the rest of the summer to pray and reflect how God can lead you towards making choices which grow you in joyful, spiritual restoration. And don’t think this is just a Sunday thing; be very aware of how you can always find time for the Lord in your daily activities to be refreshed by His mercies. Let’s kick Satan and his “hurry” to the curb, shall we?

Love and prayers for holy rest,

John