So, you are a couple of months into the year 2020. Looking back on your calendar thus far, how would you describe it?

One of the words people use most often to describe their lives is “busy.”

How many times have you asked a friend how they are doing and they respond with, “Oh, we just have so much going on … we are so busy”? When was the last time you were the one responding that way? Now, there’s nothing wrong with being busy.

Or is there?

Before we get too far into this calendar year, let’s talk about a concept in the Bible that has gotten somewhat lost in our 21st century culture. Let’s talk about keeping the Sabbath.

Keeping the Sabbath was one of the 10 commandments God gave to Moses and it means to rest for one of the seven days of the week. But in our media-packed, activity-overloaded, technology-filled world is that even possible? The answer of course is yes, it is possible. But it won’t come without a fight. And I believe it will be easier to fight for if we better understand the reason behind the command to keep the Sabbath.

If you look in Scripture you will see there are two different explanations given for why we should keep the Sabbath. Let’s look at them separately and see what we can learn.

The first is in Exodus 20:8-11. You will see in verse 11 that the reason we should rest on the Sabbath is simply because God did. He made the earth in six days and then on the seventh He rested. So, the first purpose of the Sabbath is to be a reflection of God.

How does resting one day per week reflect God? In our society we are taught to be independent and work hard enough to support ourselves without help. The problem with that: it gives us the glory and not God.

We have started to believe that if we work hard enough, we won’t need God. Not only is that false, it steals God’s glory. Dare I say that when we refuse to rest on the Sabbath we are trying to play God? On the contrary, when we take a day to rest instead of performing and producing, we reflect to the world around us that it’s not by our own strength that our lives go on, but by God’s strength and grace alone.

If that’s not convicting enough, let’s look at our second Scripture reference to the purpose of the Sabbath: Deuteronomy 5:12-15. In verse 15 you will see that another reason for the Sabbath is to remember that God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt. The first purpose of the Sabbath is to reflect God to the world and the second is to remember what God has done. When was the last time you spent a whole day remembering God’s good works? Okay, I’ll lower the bar for you: when was the last time you slowed down enough to spend even an hour remembering all of God’s good works? When we choose to stay busy every day of every week, we are communicating that it is more important to focus on current and future issues than to give God glory for what He has already done. Jesus’ death and resurrection is truly all we will ever need, so wouldn’t you say it’s worth a day of reflection?

Knowing the reasons for the Sabbath is important, but how? How do we give a day to rest, reflection and remembrance in this fast-paced world? Here are a few obvious, yet difficult ways to get started:

  • Say no. If we want to make room for rest, we must be ready to say no to some opportunities. Be ready to tell your kid’s coach that you guys won’t make it to Sunday games or practices or maybe you need to let your friends and family members know that your phones will be put away on Sundays and you won’t be reachable.
  • Plan ahead. In order to have a free day to rest we’ve got to plan ahead for it. Do your work around the house on Saturday, have your kids do their homework on Friday, and have a few things planned for the day to facilitate rest and good family/personal time.
  • Rest well. The Sabbath isn’t about vegging out or being lazy; it is about truly resting. Figure out what that means for you and your family and intentionally make it happen each week.

So, back to our beginning discussion: Is there anything wrong with being busy? Maybe so and maybe not, but we do know that we must slow down long enough to take a day to reflect God to the world and remember His goodness.

I want to leave you with two questions to consider on your own:

Do I trust God enough to obey this commandment?

Do I think He is worthy enough to submit my busyness to?

Here’s to 2020 and using the question of “How are you?” to speak of God’s goodness instead of our own busyness.

 

 

Caroline Pearce

 

 

What’s a Girl to Do?: How to Live in This Crazy World Without Going Crazy Yourself
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