Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Keri Wyatt Kent is really a good author. She understands what it means to have 'real faith' and a 'real life'. She's a church leader, wife, soccer mom,writer, cook, chauffeur, water ski enthusiast, seminar leader, retreat leader, etc.. You get the picture. Keri writes from a real life perspective. That's refreshing.
Keri asked me if I'd feature her recent book Rest:Living in Sabbath Simplicity on my blog. That was an easy 'yes'. This is good stuff especially for those of us who need some practical help in slowing down and getting in on God's best for our lives.
Here's a couple of questions and Keri's answers about the value of Sabbath keeping.
1. How does practicing the Sabbath in today’s busy society differ from the ancient concept of the Sabbath? Why is it so different? Why is it still important?
The ancient Jewish Sabbath had very strict boundaries, but within those boundaries, there was freedom and relationship. The Torah and traditions prohibited what was known as melachah, work that is creative or exercises dominion over your environment. There were 39 specific tasks, such as reaping, lighting a fire, etc., that correlated to the 39 tasks needed to build the temple.
Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath, gave us a new way of following the ancient law. Jesus reminded us that the law was originally meant to invite us into relationship with God. While the Bible makes it clear that we are saved by grace, and not by the law, God’s law still remains a great way to live—as long as we don’t get legalistic or think keeping certain rules will save us.
It’s important for many reasons, which I cover in the book. But here’s just one key reason: it allows us to experience the unconditional love of God in a physical, tangible way. It’s one thing to say he loves us even when we are not accomplishing or performing. But if we never actually stop performing, how can we experience that unconditional love? It allows us to say yes, with our bodies and our schedules, to Jesus invitation in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Sabbath is not so much something you “do” as a gift you receive.
2. You say the Sabbath made you learn flexibility. In what ways? How does Sabbath change throughout different seasons of our lives?
Jesus taught a whole new way of Sabbath, and I devote the entire first chapter of the book to just that. He showed us that Sabbath was for healing, reconciliation, valuing relationships over rules. But like any spiritual practice, we need to let God lead us, to be teachable. That requires flexibility. And it won’t always go perfectly. Again, we have to be willing to recognize that Sabbath Simplicity is a journey, and we’re learning as we go. Just as we learn other spiritual practices, like prayer or Bible study. We don’t have them completely figured out or perfected, but we keep doing them, and keep asking God to help us to do them better.
You also have to adapt your practice to the season of your life. I love that God gives a reason with the Sabbath command. Take a day off, he says, because you were slaves in Egypt. Slaves cannot take a day off, but free people can. Sabbath is a day to celebrate freedom, and to perhaps reflect on the gift of freedom, and to empathize a bit with those who are not free.
In certain seasons, though, we may feel like a slave—to our young children, our career, our needy friends, or aging parents. When I was in that season, it was hard. Ask for help. While you may, for example, still have to change diapers or feed your kids, you can refrain from other things. Don’t run errands on Sunday. It’s a nightmare with little kids in tow anyway. Do it another day, and save Sunday for just relaxing with your family. I have very specific suggestions on how to do this in my book.
I urge you to check this book out. Great message. Down to earth. Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity provides practical ways to slow down and simplify. It offers the gift of Sabbath, as a lifestyle and a spiritual practice. If you’d like to be included in a drawing for a free copy of Rest, leave a comment or question below. If you leave a question, Keri will be glad to try to answer it. We’ll select a winner next Wednesday, January 21st.
Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity is available at bookstores everywhere, and on-line.
Here's a link to Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Rest-Simplicity-Keri-Wyatt-Kent/dp/0310285976/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229546292&sr=8-1
Here's one to Christianbook.com http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=285977&netp_id=550382&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW&view=covers
For more information about Keri Wyatt Kent, visit her website at www.keriwyattkent.com or www.sabbathsimplicity.com