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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sabbath Rest

I find it confusing that we, the church as a whole, can be so dogmatic about some laws in scripture, and completely skip over others. I guess it's a cultural thing?

The particular law I'm thinking of right now is to rest on the sabbath, or maybe more pertinent today, to rest one day a week. I've never met a pastor who openly practiced it. I've never heard a sermon on it. I've never heard someone say "I'm sorry, I can't take part in that event, it's on my sabbath."

Why is that? Why do we skip over something that seemed like a constant theme in the Bible. I do get that in Matthew 12 (and in the other gospels) Jesus and his disciples "defiled" the sabbath, and made it clear that the sabbath law was not an arbitrary one. I don't think he meant for us to ignore it altogether, though.

We are a culture that prizes itself on being too busy. We all want to be overachievers, and we never want to be called lazy. Deliberately taking an entire day off each week would be to sacrifice productivity, or so we think. I for one have found that I'm much more productive throughout the week when I know that I've got a day of rest coming. Of course, a day of rest for our family still isn't super restful in this season of life, but we try. I don't cook, we don't clean. Dennis and I take turns running away for a couple of hours of peace and quiet while the other one stays with the kids.

I think ignoring the sabbath is a warning sign of deeper issues for a couple of reasons. One of them is that we think our success depends on our hard work, and we just can't afford to take a day off. This is a form of trying to take control from God. I also think that we were designed for rest, and ignoring that need can end in burnout, a health crisis and less efficient work and thought, among other things. (Ask me how I know...)

Also important, we need a day to intentionally reflect on the past week and plan for the next one. To meditate on scripture and who God is. A reset day to help us keep our focus on the right things.

Of course, we are not all able to take a complete sabbath each week, and I think Christ was clear that the sabbath was made to serve us, not the other way around. Like I said, our sabbaths are still full of work in that we have to keep our kids alive and fed and moderately clean seven days a week. We still try, though, and I think we can all work in at least a couple of hours of intentional rest a week.

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