When was the last time you intentionally carved out time for a Sabbath rest?
In the creation story God rested on the seventh day and gave the command that we are to do the same. Yet, many of us continue to rush around every day of the week and weekend pushing ourselves to engage in constant activity. Ever feel like you need a weekend away after the weekend is over? What about vacation…do you come back feeling rested or do you come back feeling exhausted only to rush back into the ‘rat race’ again the next morning? Do you commit to every invitation or do you take a few minutes to consider if squeezing just ‘1 more thing’ into your already packed schedule is a wise idea.
We wonder why we often feel rushed and stressed, and yet we somehow don’t take seriously God’s command to take a break.
All of us need to be renewed, physically and spiritually, on a regular basis. Jesus understood this concept and taught it to his closest followers. In one account in the Gospels, Jesus and his disciples were ministering to the crowd and were so busy that they did not even have time to eat lunch. Finally he said to the disciples that they needed to have a break.
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” Mark 6:31 (NIV)
Mark a date on your calendar. Choose a work-free day, possibly a Saturday or Sunday, sometime in the next month which you will hold as a Sabbath; a day of rest. It doesn’t mean that you sit around and read the bible for the whole day. Just try to get your work done during the preceding week so that the day is free and you can do whatever you’d like on that day. Maybe it will be a lazy day with your family, maybe it will be a day to enjoy a hobby or to take a walk in nature. Let your activity be a spur of the moment plan: something unscheduled. Let God be the Lord of the Sabbath and enjoy the rest that he wants us to take.
Devoted followers of Christ have practiced silence and solitude throughout the ages as a means of deliberately making space in their busy schedules to listen and hear the voice of God. Without silence and solitude it is difficult to fully enter into intimacy with God simply because so many other voices are contending for our attention and commitment.
Think about it…have you ever felt guilty for sitting still while someone around you is rushing around “getting things done”? It is challenging to be quiet and alone. Somehow it often seems less than productive when we take time to read the Word of God and to “Be Still” in His presence.
Henri Nouwen states: “Solitude is difficult for many people, because they don’t know what to do in the solitude…For those who have used productivity as the basis for their self-worth this becomes a drastic if not radical departure from their way of living. But in solitude we are not completely alone, Christ is with us, and we are deepening our relationship with him. We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with him and him alone. Our primary task in solitude, therefore, is not to pay undue attention to the many faces which assail us, but to keep the eyes of our mind and heart on him who is our Divine Saviour”.
Go outside. Read the passage below and spend 5 minutes “being” with the God of the Universe.
“Elijah stood on Mount Horeb where he heard God speak in a gentle whisper. The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by”. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)