Are we willing to unplug, pull back, refresh, renew, slow down, pick flowers, and to have no agenda? No? What if God asked you to do it? What if if He asked you to do it because He knew that your life was out of control? What if you could tap into God's replenishment strategy for your life?
God says to those willing, “I have a way.” Keep the Sabbath.
Do we need a Sabbath? I don’t know about you but I certainly do. I need a place to rest. And I especially need a rest from that which consumes my life. It’s represented by my laptop and my Blackberry and any clock within gazing distance.
Here’s a dirty little secret. Pastors and church workers don’t believe in Sabbath. Not really. We talk about it. We give sermons about it. We give it lip service. But we don’t practice it. You see, most of us are delusional. We actually think God can’t do His thing without us. That why so many church leader leave the ministry in droves each year. They’re too exhausted to continue. They never found an adequate replenishment strategy for their lives. They ignore the hope and promise of Sabbath.
We suffer from the taint of sin that has infected the rest of the world. And so, we do our own thing, walking in disobedience to the Lord.
I came to the conclusion this week that despite my mental assent to the principle my actual unwillingness to keep Sabbath is one of my deep sins. My desire to keep plugged in and wired up is greater than my desire to be obedient to the God who asks me to keep Sabbath. And I confess that I am, more often than not, more weeks than not, willfully disobedient. I say, in effect, that I can figure things out on my own and I’m quite capable, thank you, of holding on to all the worry and anxiety of my life and not make myself available for the rest of God.
I was reading in Romans this week.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God Romans 8:5-8 NLT
When I read it I trembled a bit. Honestly. It says that when the Spirit is controlling you-you experience peace and life. It’s real clear to me that when I use words like tired, busy, stressed to describe my life that I’m not walking in the Spirit. I’m bowing to another god, making an idol to worship. And it shakes my world.
Why? Because what it means, at least in this area of my life, is that I’m not controlled by the Holy Spirit. For if I were, I’d be obedient to Sabbath and I’d be describing my life as something different than stressed, worried, hassled and tired. Could it be that regarding Sabbath that I am hostile towards God? For if I was truly in love with God I would embrace his call to Sabbath and I don’t.
Sabbath is both a day and an attitude. We don’t set aside time for Sabbath unless we have the heart for it. And we really don’t have a heart for Sabbath unless we set aside the time meant for it. Observing Sabbath is an obedient act that leads us into further obedience and helps us to discover the rest of God. And when I don’t do it I’m thumbing my nose at God.
I live in disobedience. I don’t do Sabbath because I love being plugged in and wired up. I’m used to having my life ruled by the clock and the calendar but, in all honesty, it doesn’t serve me well.
I know I want to honor God.
My sinful nature does not want to please God.
Sabbath keeping pleases God.
It’s a bit of a conundrum. The habit of my life is to do my own thing. God beckons me to something different.
I'm choosing Sabbath. Stay tuned.