Keeping the Sabbath Holy
One of the many things I admire about watching my children grow is their ability to live in the moment. My daughter tip-toe walks at a slow pace looking at the sights with her chocolate drop eyes. She keeps her ears open to the sounds around her noticing each and every detail of her senses. More times than not, she stops to pick up a leaf off the ground or wrinkles up her nose to smell the flowers on the sidewalk. She doesn’t know where we are going and doesn’t have to! She simply enjoys the journey of getting there.
Our lives, like most, are busy. My son moves around like an electronic car driving in every direction at once. And I am convinced he breaks things just so he can try to figure out how to repair them. My daughter is in preschool and dance but is still young enough to require my full attention when she is home. She senses when I need a break and pounces right at that moment! And I’m a work-at-home mama with a lot on my plate that is job-related too. We try and take vacations, but we often forget the essential relaxation piece. Our home is full of love and joy yet is anything but relaxing.
Today I opened a book for a few minutes of reading; the chapter seemed written for my heart at just the right time. I had plans to restock our shelves and fridge after a grocery trip, head to the library to get books for the kids (I hope the books make it back in one piece this time), and I needed to catch up on many loads of laundry. Reading today was going to be a quick ten minute break until I saw that the chapter of the book was about keeping the Sabbath. I was intrigued because this term is never used in today’s world.
I thought, why do we consider “do not murder” and “do not steal” as commandments we still consider but not the commandment to rest?
There are several books of the Bible in the Old Testament that, to be honest, I don’t like to read. I know. That’s awful. But it’s mainly because I don’t understand them! However, this book took me through many parts of Leviticus and the commandments for God’s people to rest at the end of every week. It also reminded me of how God’s people were commanded to let the land rest every seventh year. If God cares about the earth itself resting, how much more important is it for us to rest? Each commandment He made was made with purpose.
God doesn’t want us to rest so we can be lazy, unproductive, or more stressed out from getting behind. No! Instead, the commandment is to give us freedom from our daily tasks, reenergize us by slowing down, and see God’s provision rather than our own. Did God’s people go hungry in Bible times when they let the land rest for that year? Of course not! God provided. He stepped in and took care of his children!
My husband David often tells me how Americans are some of the worst at being their own gods. We like receiving credit for successes and having all the answers. We allow science or our own human understanding to override the chapters God wishes to write in our lives during times of rest.
I remember being in Congo talking to a man I came to know and asking him if he was fearful every time he drank unsanitary water. His reply, after a small laugh, “No, we just pray and let God take care of it. We haven’t had a problem!”
Wow! Here I am putting all the pressure on myself to provide for my family, create an amazing childhood for my kids, and fit into societies terms of a “life well lived.” But all I have to do is trust God and allow myself a little rest every now and then.
I challenge you to join me in this new attempt I will be making to slow life down, stop and smell the flowers, and pray for provision.
It may be slow at first, but we can all make a few changes in order to experience God in a new way and enjoy the freedom He so graciously offers us through rest.