Hey, are you feeling like you’re at your end? Sometimes, is it all too much? I know I feel it; overworked, overstressed and definitely underblessed. See, I hear you wigging out already. No, underblessed is not an english word! I know that, but I bet somebody knows what I’m talking about. Forget all you grammar nazis anyway! Look, I’m just saying, sometimes it’s all too much. Isn’t it? I propose that the reason we get to our end is because we forget how we began. The answer has always been there from the beginning, from creation.
The most amazing event of the creation account is the seventh day. God, systematically created the earth and all that mankind needed in order to sustain life. God worked! God also created man and woman and did it all in six days. Now that’s hard work! God does not sleep, nor does He slumber. God works!!! Yet, the seventh day, yes the blessed seventh day, God rested.
Many of us who practice the Judeo-Christian faith look at the 6th day as the climax of the creation account and I’m not necessarily arguing against that assessment. Yet, the unintended result of that thinking is an under appreciation for the seventh day. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The beginning initiates with God working. Yet, on day seven, God, in all His holy creativeness created rest. According to Matthew Sleeth, “God doesn’t need to rest after creating the universe because he’s tired. He rests because he is holy, and everything that God does is holy. God rests. God is holy. Therefore, rest is holy. It’s simple math.” As the creation story unfolds, we don’t experience rest until God creates it, participates in it and passes it on to us as a part of the character and image of God. Again, God not only rested, he created rest, and a holy rest it is.
Sabbath, at its root means to cease, to stop, or to be absent. Practically, there are two ways to participate in the Sabbath. You are to rest unto the Lord and you are to celebrate the divinity of the Lord seen in creation. The rest must be unto the Lord and the celebration must be unto the Lord. Yet Sabbath itself is not rest, nor is it celebration, it is cessation. It is an end to things. In God’s context, Sabbath is a break from creation. In our context it’s an end to our lives of business and work. According to Walter Brueggemann, “Sabbath becomes a decisive, concrete, visible way of opting for and aligning with the God of rest.” It’s a time of total and undivided devotion to the Lord. It’s an imitation of the Father. Matthew Sleeth words it this way, “The point is that something very important about the character of God is revealed on the seventh day: God stops.” Did you hear that, simply stated, being like God is knowing when to stop. Whew!!! Mind blown!!! See, the biblical ceremonial Sabbath was a day, Saturday, and it was the seventh day, the day that the Lord rested from creation of the earth. Today, due to the freedom we have in Christ, and Jesus’ reassertion of the law, the principle of the Sabbath remains without the ceremonial restrictions. Today, we practice knowing when to stop.
As I close, God created the world in six days and on the seventh He rested a holy rest! I for one, want to celebrate and I need to Sabbath! Matthew Sleeth says, “Sabbath is like a redeemed holiday (holy day) fifty-two times a year. It is a time to rejoice and celebrate.”. I sabbath because I want to be fully human, I want to be like God, and I want to be holy. One of my favorite verses is Leviticus 20:26, “And you shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that you should be mine.” The personal and intimate call of God for me to be close, intimate and holy stirs my soul. So, if being like God is knowing when to stop, then I want to embody and practice the Sabbath day fully. Today, I want to practice knowing when to stop. Walter Brueggemann exclaims, “We used to sing the hymn “Take Time to Be Holy.” But perhaps we should be singing, “Take time to be human.” Or finally, “Take time.” Sabbath is taking time … time to be holy … time to be human”.
Personally, I would add, take time to repent, because God is calling us to be holy. Failure to have a Sabbath theology is at minimum an evidence of what sin has done to us. We have to ignore God’s command in the Old Testament and Jesus’ example in the new in order to miss God’s will for us to rest. We certainly don’t have to see this the same way, but to ignore it altogether, now that’s a “missing of the mark” against your body and your soul. Let’s be like God, by knowing when to stop. And of course fam, Be a bridge!!
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