“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” – Mark 2:27
What is a Sabbath? Is it a list of do’s and don’ts? I’m not allowed shopping, but what if I ran out of (soy) milk? (I’m lactose intolerant) What if I enjoy a cup of French Pressed coffee? Is that “too much” work?
More importantly, what role does a Sabbath have in my busy world? God made the world in six days; on the seventh, he rested. I’m better than God. I don’t need rest. I had just started my own business. I have mountains of work to do, and a list of over-due tasks that gives me anxiety to just see them.
However, I have discovered, that a Sabbath is not about me. It’s about worshiping God.
Sabbath is about tangibly showing my trust in God.
I will take a Sabbath because it forces me to rely on God on this day. Amidst my busy schedule and task filled day, I often begin to think that I can control everything. If only I can send this email, or book this meeting, or follow up with this person, I can move by business forward. Those actions, as I have learned through painful experiences, are often fruitless. On this Sabbath day, I share declare to myself and to others that I will dedicate this day to God so that I can demonstrate a child-like faith in Him that He will fulfill his promises. That he shall advance my business in a direction that He wants… that He shall direct my steps.
Sabbath is about reflecting on God’s promises.
I shall set a side time on this day to reflect on the promises that He has given us. Primarily, the promise in the Gospel which is simply this: I am a sinner. But God so loved the world, that He sent his one and only Son to die for my sin. My sin is no longer mine, but nailed to the Cross. God sees me veiled in the perfection of Jesus Christ. There is NOTHING that I can do to make Him love me more. There is NOTHING that I can do to make Him love me less.
Isn’t it crazy to think that God loves me more than I love myself? God died for me, yet I beat myself up every day. God loves my employees more than I love them. He died for them… I only let them eat my snacks, and my wife’s baked goods (her lumberjack cookies are to die for). God loves my clients, my colleagues, my neighbours more than I ever could. Therefore, I should stop stressing about how best to serve them, but allow God to show me and direct me on how to serve them better.
Sabbath is about restoration… OK, I guess it’s a little about me.
Before, I thought a Sabbath is a list of do’s and don’ts… not that I followed any of it anyway. All I know is that I should be “resting”. What the heck does that mean? How do I “rest”? I can’t simply read all day, or just lay around all day. I’d feel worse than if I had not “rested”. A practical way to determine whether or not something should be done on a Sabbath is distilled by Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God. “Cease from what is necessary. Embrace that which gives life”. I interpret it as “Stop doing what you ought to do, start doing something you want to do”. Mark gives an example of cutting grass. If cutting grass is something I ought to do, then I shouldn’t do it on a Sabbath. If it’s something that I want to do and it gives me life, that I should do it! Granted, I live in downtown Vancouver, and the only patch of green I can find is in my flower pot, but I shall apply the principle. I really appreciate this interpretation as it doesn’t have any legalistic elements to it. It just gives me a general guideline, and God gives me the freedom to choose.
So, does the Sabbath have a role in my busy life? Absolutely. In addition to rest, it forces me set aside time to reflect on the Gospel. Since it’s so easy for me to worship the idol of control, I need to be constantly reminded that only God is in control. And no matter how I plan my ways, he shall direct my steps.