If you missed Why Rest? (Part I), you can read it here.
Fasten your seatbelt . . . I’m about to go ‘biblical’ on you.
There is rest and there is ‘Sabbath-rest.’ Do you know the difference?
Sabbath-rest comes with following the Biblical imperative to observe a ‘day of rest.’ 24 hours. Yes, a whole day. Mark Buchanan wrote a fabulous book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath that I highly recommend. Here are a few ‘gems’ from the book . . .
Sabbath defined: imitating God so we stop trying to be God . . . so we can again discover that we’re not Him and that we need Him. (recognizing own weakness and smallness).
Sabbath is turning over to God all those things . . . our money, work, status, reputations, plans and projects we’re otherwise tempted to hold tight in our own closed fists, hold onto for dear life. Real Sabbath depends on confidence and trust. We can take our minds off things because God has it . . . He is good and He is sovereign. To refuse Sabbath is to spurn His gift of freedom.
God’s instruction for Sabbath: cease work, rest, celebrate, remember, observe, deny yourself, delight yourself.
Sabbath is that day in which all other days have no claim . . .
– to cease from that which is necessary
– to stop doing what you ought to
– to take wing
– to embrace that which gives life
Sabbath specifically forbids creating . . . it is for re-creating. For ‘putting back together.’
Sit with Jesus until you hear from Him what he would have you do – sit some more, visit the aging, do whatever with Mary-like heart but Martha-like heartiness. If we don’t listen, we never enter His rest. Yet if we never enter His rest, we never listen.
Enemies of Sabbath are utility and chronology. When we fall into utilitarianism, e.g. everything must be ‘on purpose,’ we’ve succumbed to one of the enemies of Sabbath. When our calendars and our clocks become our rulers, we’ll never take Sabbath rest seriously. When we really believe we have no time to waste – no time to simply enjoy without excuse or guilt, without having to show anything for it, then the cult of utility is utterly ascendant. It has vanquished all rivals.
Sabbath is a specific period of time but more of an attitude. Sabbath-keeping is more art than science. More poetry than arithmetic. We get a knack for it after a while.
Sabbath requires both a Godward and time-ward orientation. It’s an attitude and a day to keep. To think clearly about God and freshly about time.
A big part of Sabbath is remembering. Busyness erodes memory . . . we need to remember because memory informs us as to our identity. It grounds in us who we are and where we’ve come from. Memory shapes and guides us. To remember is, literally, ‘to put broken pieces back together’ . . . to re-member. It is to create an original wholeness out of what has become scattered fragments.
As with all things spiritual, Sabbath-rest is about motive. It’s distinct because it’s intentional. Most of us can remember days when we didn’t accomplish anything. For me those are troubling days because I thought I’d rest, decided to make some progress instead, and end up doing neither. When I’ve intentionally set aside 24 hours for Sabbath-rest as described by Buchanan, it’s as he puts it, like “the stranger you’ve always known. It’s the place of homecoming you’ve rarely or never visited, but which you’ve been missing forever.”
Challenge: Will you intentionally pick a day sometime this month, designate it as a Sabbath-rest day, and then live it fully as described here? Let us know how it goes here in the comments.