Sabbath Rest

“In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply. ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still. Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God—actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God— the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness” (Mark BuchananThe Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath).

I’m still mulling over what Chris Brooks said at Kairos tonight about Sabbath rest. We don’t rest from our work as much as we work from our rest.

Most of us go non-stop full speed ahead for five days and then come to a screeching halt for two days. Then we start the madness all over again.

Some never stop. They go all out, thinking that sleep and rest can wait. Unfortunately, their bodies often have different ideas.

I think very few of us know how to work from our rest as a form of worship. That’s what the Hebrew word for work also means– worship.

Rest sounds really good to me right now. Actually, sleep sounds great. I think I’ll take myself up on my own advice and call it a night, but not before leaving you with this little nugget.

May you find the rest of God by resting in God, staying your mind on Him throughout the day and working not for but out of your approval as a son or a daughter of God.



Finding Rest for Your Souls

“We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health” (Greg McKeownEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less).

Tonight’s topic at Kairos was keeping the Sabbath.

It was not the usual guilt trip about how you shouldn’t go to Wal-Mart on Sunday or how if you skip church you must be a heathen pagan.

It was more about how God designed the seventh day for rest. Not merely sleeping in one day a week (though that is a good thing in my opinion) but truly resting in body, mind, and spirit.

Chris Brooks, the Kairos pastor, pointed out that we don’t rest from our work as much as we work from our rest. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word for work can also be translated as worship, so even our labors can have an element of rest in them if we view our jobs as offerings of worship rather than just tasks and to-do-lists.

I still love what Macrina Wiederkehr said: “Work is love made visible.” When we see that our job isn’t something we endure to get to Friday, but an act of worship and a demonstration of love, then it becomes less of an ordeal and more of a joy.

In a world where busyness is glorified and justified and promoted, God says to rest. God says that you can get more done in six days with a day set aside for rest than you can by charging ahead full speed for seven days without a break.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).

Who Holds the Day

“Our circumstances are not defined by what the day holds but by Who holds the day” (Aaron Bryant, Campus Pastor of The Church at Avenue South).

You and I both know what the day holds. There are already not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Some of you are already hyperventilating at the mere thought of the overwhelming list of tasks that await you when you get to work on Monday.

I have a new mantra based on a sermon I heard this morning at The Church at Avenue South. Our circumstances aren’t defined by what the day holds but by Who holds the day.

God is more than enough to handle what your day brings. He is more than enough to calm your fears and carry you through your stressful day. He is more than enough to make up for your woeful inadequacy to face what’s coming.

The One who holds the day holds every single day of your life in His capable hands. He’s the one who knows when a sparrow lands. He’s the one who knows the number of hairs on your head. He’s the one who clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the lowliest of those sparrows. He will take care of you.

I’m still not a fan of Mondays. I’m thankful they don’t come more than once every seven days. I seriously don’t think I could handle more than one Monday a week.

I’m even more thankful that the Lord of the Sabbath is Lord of the Mondays, too. He’s just as able to save and deliver you on Monday as He is on Sunday (and on every other day of the week as well).

Once more. Your circumstances are not defined by what the day holds but by Who holds the day. You will be just fine.


Making Every Day a Sabbath

“There are days when we seek things
for ourselves and measure failure
by what we do not gain.

On Shabbat, we seek not to acquire
but to share.

There are days when we exploit nature
as if it were a horn of plenty
that can never be exhausted.

On Shabbat, we stand in wonder
before the mystery of creation.

There are days when we act as if we
cared nothing for the rights of others.

On Shabbat, we remember that justice is
our duty and a better world our goal.

So we embrace Shabbat:
day of rest, day of wonder, day of peace” (Mishkan T’Filah, Shabbat service– borrowed from 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker)

You can argue all day long about whether Sabbath belongs on a Saturday or a Sunday. I personally believe the day isn’t as important as what you do with it.

Sabbath is a day of rest and restoration. Not necessarily a day of doing nothing. Perhaps it’s a day when you step back from the rat race and let yourself breathe in and out and just be.

Sabbath is a day to remember that it’s not up to you to get it all done. In fact, the most vitally important work has already been done. God in Jesus did it through Calvary.

The universe does not revolve around you and all your drama. You aren’t the point of the story God is writing but you still get to play a part in it. You do matter very much to the same God who never lets a sparrow fall to the ground.

The world will go on just fine if you step out for a moment. Contrary to popular opinion, the universe will not cease to exist if you take a break from your hectic 24/7 schedule. Go and take that nap.

Sabbath is about trusting the Maker of the Universe to keep it going. To keep you going. To keep you safe. To keep you sane. To get you through and get you home.



Learning the Facts of Life

I had a random Union University memory today. A friend of mine mentioned that he had a jamocha shake from Arby’s when it was cold outside, which got me thinking about my own jamocha shake experience. Specifically one.

My dorm room was at the back of the campus. Across the street lived the place that made my drug of choice, the jamocha shake. Plus, the fact that I could literally walk half a block to get one made it all the better.

So I decided one night to get one. Apparently, I didn’t get the memo that they closed. I arrived just in time to be told, “Sorry, we’ve closed for the night. No jamocha shake for you.” Not in those words, but something close to that.

I did get my shake eventually, but I also learned to pay attention to the time more closely.

Today, I had a salted caramel mocha, one of the harbingers of the arrival of Autumn. It’s also one of my favorites. That, the pumpkin spice latte, and the caramel apple cider are the three best reasons to frequent Starbucks in the fall.

For me, fall is a reminder that sometimes it’s good to slow down and savor life. That to-do list never goes away and never gets smaller, but sometimes you find when you leave a few items unchecked, the world actually doesn’t come to a crashing halt. Somehow, life goes on.

It’s better when your life has margins, when you aren’t so jam-packed with busyness that you have no down time. There’s a reason why God made the Sabbath. No one can go all-out for 7 days in a row, week after week, and not burn out and break down.

I personally have never had a problem with going full speed for too long. I like my naps. I like my quality therapy time with my cat Lucy in my lap and some quality TCM programming in front of me.

If all you have time for is one deep breath, take it. Breathe in and breathe out and remember that ultimately it’s not up to you. God’s got this.