Sunday, February 10, 2008

One Sabbath

One Sabbath, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This week we finished our series called 168 at h2o by talking about the Sabbath. Really the talk was about more than Sabbath. It was about being intentional with our time and our efforts so that Christ might be more fully formed in each one of us.

You see, most of us, if we are honest, live life without any margins or spaces. We are running from event to event, meeting to meeting, and person to person without taking any time for rest or refreshment.

If we aren’t careful, our lives become more about what we do than who we are. That’s a big part of why God instituted the Sabbath. One day during the week, we can set apart to be refreshed and be particularly reminded that our identity doesn’t come from what we do.

It’s pretty funny, in a sad sort of way, the lengths we will go to justify not having a day that is marked as Sabbath—a day of rest. Many of us feel like we are too busy to take a Sabbath, and that there is too much work to be done to merit a break. And yet, keeping the Sabbath is one of the ten commandments.

Most of us would never dream of justifying murder, or deception, or covetousness, or even aldultery. But we regularly ignore this practice of Sabbath, and the saddest part of it is that Sabbath provides us the best opportunity to engage in many other spiritual disciplines so that our lives look more Christ-like.

Sabbath is a great day to fast, or to spend time in solitude or silence. It’s a great time to spend living more simply, because we aren’t trying to keep up with others. We aren’t trying to keep up with anything really.

To spend a day completely at rest—can you imagine it? Can you imagine what God would reveal to you about yourself if you could unbusy your life for one day, and spend it being intentional to listen, to rest, and to be refreshed?

At h2o, I left folks with a simple goal, and I want to give you the same challenge for the next month. So for the next month I’ve got a goal for you. I want you to try to practice a Sabbath. That means you’ve got a pick a day each week during which you won’t do work. You won’t do little projects to try to get ahead. Instead you will spend time doing things that refresh you. Maybe that’s hiking, or playing basketball, or going shopping, or going for a long drive. Part of the next month’s experiment will be determining what refreshes you and gives you rest. I would love to hear how this goes for you so feel free to email me with your stories about practicing Sabbath. The important thing though is that you take the time to practice it. Allow Sabbath to bring your life into rhythm so you can faithfully live out your calling and become more fully human.


BigMama said...

Elwood's grandmother is a 7th Day Adventist. While I disagree with how strongly worded some of their materials are (to say the least!), it has defintiely made me more intentional about having a day of rest. We find it fun to sit together as a family and play a board game or to sit around the table and work on a craft together. The more of our family that can participate, the more restful it is (which seems weird, when the more of us you add, the louder and more insane it becomes!).

esperanza said...

Yeah... I'm actually a 7th Day Adventist, too... =) I really appreciate that my parents raised me with this special day each week. I don't wanna miss it! Wouldn't know how I would survive without it. When I was little, I didn't have to do my homework on Saturday, practice the piano or the guitar, clean the house... it was "family day" instead and most of the time, we (the kids) got to choose what we wanted to do. It was just a great day! Today, I still don't do anything for university on Saturday and I'm not even tempted to. My relationship to the piano has changed and so sometimes it's the only day of the week I still touch it. It doesn't matter how big the two exams on Monday are, I need my "time off"! I agree with Billy and can only encourage you to get your "day of rest", too. It's the best medication against "burnout" =)