March 19 – Today’s Readings – Numbers 28-30 and Psalms 79
Living in a society like ours, it is difficult to imagine giving an entire day to the Lord and to family without doing any “regular work”. We have so many projects on the go – we need to pay off the car or the credit card – the renovations can’t wait another day – the boss is always short-handed and the pressure is on to produce. What’s more is that we take great pride in our heroic work efforts – “You know I haven’t taken a real day off all month!”
Don’t misunderstand me – I was brought up with a strong work ethic and my father saw to it that his son would not be a slacker. I believe in hard work and providing for my wife, my children, the Church, the needy, and paying my taxes.
However, we as a society have redefined the concept of “rest” making it a dirty word. Why is it God was so insistent that His people rest on a regular basis? He even instituted a Sabbath Day of rest, complete with severe punishment for not observing it. Perhaps He knows something about us humans that we tend to ignore. Perhaps He understands that if we do not regularly gather as a people to meet with the Lord – spending time in fellowship and with family – we will be spiritually unhealthy and unbalanced. Once this happens in our lives, idolatry (focus on wrong things) becomes the next step downward. Idolatry separates us from our fellowship with God, but a Sabbath rest brings refreshing and a time to re-balance and re-focus ourselves spiritually, emotionally and relationally.
What did Jesus have to say about the Sabbath? – “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) He absolutely did not want us to become “legalistic” in this matter but this does not mean we shouldn’t heed the wisdom of the Word of God, which outlines a regular, weekly rest, worship and fellowship in our lives. We have a desperate need to institute some good time management habits at the prodding of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 10:25 reads, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Obviously there were many in this Hebrew Church group who had quit attending worship services and having fellowship on a regular basis. Is it “The Law” that we gather weekly to worship? No but it was a New Testament pattern for Christians to gather on “The Lord’s Day” for worship, fellowship, breaking of bread, teaching and prayer. These are the activities that keep us focused and bonded as the family of God. A day off is also a great way to stay in tune with the people you love. Phone calls, emails, skype, meals together, and walks together . . . These are Sabbath activities for me – the things that restore my soul.
1. What steps will you need to take in order to “carve out” some “Sabbath” for yourself, the Lord and your loved ones?
2. What part does Church worship and fellowship have in your Sabbath rest?