This week’s devotional is from Pastor Jeff.
ENCOUNTER: Read Jesus words in Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Last Sunday, at the end of my sermon on Pursuing a Life of Calm, Peace, and Rest, I left you with the challenge of considering God’s command to honor a Sabbath. “Are you serious?” was a common theme of the feedback that came my way. I also heard, “Maybe that works for other people’s lives, but certainly not mine.”
But I’m not sure what to do with that. You see, the only way I know how to honor God's command to take a Sabbath rest each week is to…
…Wait for it…
Take. Sabbath. Rest. Each. Week.
I’m sure the idea didn’t occur to God as a way to make us miserable or as an unnatural insertion into our “real” lives for his amusement or appeasement. And in fact, I don’t think religious duty has anything to do with it. I think that God commanded it because it is the best spiritual formation exercise to help us to live 24/7 in the Sabbath Rest that is offered by Jesus.
Here is, at least in part, what a sabbath is about: A Sabbath is a one-day practice of rest that…
Gives our mind and body an absolutely necessary break (medically/ physiologically.) It’s truly needed. (Just google it…)
Serves as a picture that God is in control of our lives and has provided, is providing, and will provide all that we have and all that we need.
Reminds us that my whole life is really only about walking with God and serving him.
In the sermon, there is a lot more content about the rest that Jesus offers. Let me encourage you to reflect on all that. But let me also encourage you as an application to that message to try taking a Sabbath this week or weekend. See what happens! :)
HOW TO TAKE A SABBATH DAY (Some suggestions)
-Pick one day. (Next Saturday or Sunday?)
-Start the day early (like Jesus is reported to have done.) with a restful time with a notebook giving him all that is on your plate and mind. And all that you are worrying about. Write that stuff down and put it before God’s throne and leave it there for the remainder of the day.
Then spend the day:
-Not at work
-Not doing maintenance on the house/car
Instead, spend the day:
-Loving people. (Seeing friends and family, blessing strangers, hanging with the kids, dating your spouse, writing encouraging texts to your friends, etc. etc.)
-Playing (remember what you actually LIKE to do??)
-(Literally) Counting your blessings
-And telling God you trust Him - especially when all that weary and burdensome “stuff” that you are carrying comes up. Maybe practice repeating a simple prayer that comes in the form of a statement or question depending on how you are feeling: “You got this, God!” or “…you got this, God?”
Practicing a Sabbath is actually as simple as that. Walk with God, focus on him, and don’t spend the day “getting it all done.”
I hope you try it. God called us to it because it is a gateway to the Sabbath Rest that Jesus offers. I am confident that it may be exactly what your heart, soul, mind, and strength need.
9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God… 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…