Anybody can observe the Sabbath but making it holy takes the rest of the week." ~Alice Walker
Yesterday morning my husband and I visited our niece's church for her baby's dedication. Nestled into the pastor's arms, little Annie Grace was the picture perfect baby, smiling and chatting away. The pastor talked about how her parents' desire was that she would grow up knowing and loving God's Word. Laughter filled the room when she took a good hard look at his Bible after he spoke these words. (I am not kidding ~ that really happened!) After her dedication, the pastor gave a great message about the Sabbath. Today, I find myself thinkng a lot about this often ignored subject.
The message yesterday was clear. Our society has moved far away from the whole concept of keeping the Sabbath. The pastor pointed out that he could think of only one place that chose to keep its doors closed on Sundays for this very reason. We are a population of people that are constantly on the go. If it isn't official work we are doing, then it's errands, housework, gardening, bill paying, chauffering the kids to a myriad of activities, and the list goes on and on. It's a wonder we ever manage to fit time in to go to church!
While I am NO expert on the subject, I do have a general understanding that the Sabbath was established for our own good. I believe that God created the Sabbath because He knew it would be a necessary ingredient to our very busy lives. I cannot help but wonder what percentage of heart attacks, strokes, and other stress-related ailments would be prevented if we just did things God's way.
Like I said, I am no expert. In fact, most Sundays I spend a good chunk of time doing something productive. The bottom line is that I am not really honoring the Sabbath. How would my life change if I did honor this day each week? Would I fall behind in my neverending lists and work load? I have a hunch that the answer is no.
Some days I just have to pause and take a little nap. Just a few minutes of uninterrupted rest gives me a new leash on the day. I am renewed and reenergized, more prepared to handle the rest of the day's responsibilities. Surely this basic principle of rest and renewal applies to the Sabbath. How can I not begin a new week more prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually if I've taken that day of rest and renewal?
Suddenly the Sabbath is looking so good! This week I want to study this principle (okay...command) and what it means for me and my life. I think the quote by Alice Walker is right on ~ integrating the Sabbath into my life will make for a holier week overall.
"Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work ~ not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; He rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; He set it apart as a holy day." ~Exodus 20:8-11