“And God blessed the third day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” (Genesis 2:3)
I think I am a little more prone to not taking time to rest than your average bear. It’s not that I’m more productive; I’m really not. I just have trouble allowing myself just to rest. Forget the to-do list, forget the stress of the day, and just rest. The culture as a whole can relate to those feelings. However, the Almighty, the Creator, rested on the seventh day. The God of the Universe took a day to relax to model for us his expectation.
In the Church, the idea of Sabbath is sometimes touchy. Some Christian organizations do not give the people working with them a Sabbath, telling everyone that they are there to serve, and it is just for a summer. Honestly, though, this is an obedience issue. We cannot claim to serving God by disobeying him. Samuel tells us that obedience is better than sacrifices. “And Samuel said,’Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.'” (I Samuel 15:22 ESV). We can and should make sacrifices to further the Kingdom; sacrificing Sabbath, though, is disobedient and displeasing to God.
I think Sabbath is primarily about remembering our place in this world. We are the created, not the Creator. We are finite. I think we need a weekly reminder that the world does not stop and start when we do. As Jesus followers, we partner with the God that omniscient (knows everything), omnipresent (present at all times and in all places), and omnipotent (all-powerful). We are not the main characters in God’s story; we are the footnotes. And as the footnotes, we need to take time to reflect on what God has done and is doing, and we need to take time to thank him, and to savor his goodness.
My pride often wrestles with my desire to be obedient in all issues, but also particularly in the issue of Sabbath. I praise God that he sees my disobedience, and yet made a way for me to spend eternity with him. He is infinitely gracious and kind. As we will see in Genesis 3, as God began setting boundaries and people then rebelled, He also began crafting a plan to rescue them from their sin. Immeasurably patient, he welcomes us as sons and daughters.
What is God teaching you? I would love to hear how God is shaping your heart to be more like his!