“And on the seventh day God rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2)
Here I am on my third week of Sabbatical leave and I am just beginning to really rest. I’m sure this sounds ridiculous to many, but resting can be hard sometimes for people like me. To really rest you have to completely cease from all your work. That is what the Sabbath day is all about. This is God’s example and design for how life works…we work six days, rest one. God did it and he was not even tired!
This is clearly a faith issue for me. Do I really trust God and his Word? Or do I trust more in my own ability to determine the use of my time and what is best for my life? God’s command to rest is an invitation to get refreshed physically, spiritually and relationally. I have discovered that including this in my weekly rhythm recalibrates me from the inside out, which allows me to be more fruitful and effective in six days than if I worked all seven. Though this is clear to me I still have to be very intentional to maintain this discipline. I live in a world that seems to provide endless opportunities to do more stuff…good stuff. It’s way easier for me to say, “yes” to a ministry opportunity than to say “no.” “No” is such a simple and powerful word, but it certainly is not my default response.
Over the years I have developed a sophisticated array of excuses for adding more to my schedule than I should. For example, “I’m the one who can pull this off, and if I don’t do it who will?” “I think I can handle one more thing…” “If I say no, this opportunity might not come my way again.” “This is a unique situation that requires me to keep working without really resting. Oh ya, and that’s a unique one too, as well as that one.” And my favorite, “It’s God’s work. How can I say ‘no’?” So dumb!
Embracing the Sabbath will always be a discipline for me, but one that I won’t give up on. Perhaps it’s easier for me to say this now that I am actually resting and experiencing the benefits that come with it. People like me will need friends to remind them from time to time of what they need to be practicing on a weekly basis.
Just now an old and rather corny song came to mind;
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
Thank God for the rest He promises and gives to those who practice the Sabbath. Hope you have a bright, bright Sun-Shiny and restful day!