Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I heard a sermon one time that pointed out something about the ten commandments that now seems quite obvious to me, but until that time, I had never noticed before. One of these ten is not like the others.
That these 9 - no other gods before me, no idols, honor God's name (I wonder what He thinks of our casual, constant OMGs?), honor your parents, don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, and don't covet - made the top ten, is understandable. It's #4 that is the surprise.
Is our resting really so important to God that He would put it in this list? Right in there with do not murder?
This is on my mind because we are at KAA this week. Lou has been a volunteer doctor here at Kids Across America for the last 12 years. He's on call for emergencies and has sick call 2x/day, but all the other time, we rest. Our only scheduled event is mealtime, which is graciously provided for us. And, of course, we also enjoy all the other amenities a camp offers. But it is all rest. Purposeful rest. Not only is there more time to walk, swim, read, think and visit, but there is more time to be with God, to be in His word, to talk to Him, listen to Him. That is real rest and renewal. We always come back from KAA rested and renewed. Strengthened for the battles of every day life.
Purposeful resting strengthens. It's essential for physical and spiritual health. That's why God put it in the top 10 as something we need, not just for a week every summer, but every 1 in 7 days. Is that mind blowing to anybody but me?
So what does a sabbath rest look like in 2011?
Well, it would certainly look different for me now than it did when I had 6 kids at home ages 9 and under. Back then, a sabbath rest was going to the grocery store alone. It was moments here and there when everybody happened to be napping at the same time and I gave myself permission to rest too - in the middle of the day, no less! If any young moms are reading this right now, please, please hear this. Give yourself permission to rest. Or even more compelling, obey God, and rest. Ask God to show you what that looks like in your family with its schedules and demands. He always equips for what He commands. And, don't be shy about getting a babysitter just so you can rest. Periodically, when I felt I couldn't dog paddle one minute longer and I couldn't find any time or space at home, I'd hire a sitter and go to Dunnegan Park for a couple of hours to just sit in my car and think, read, pray, and yes...nap. Rest.
My kids are older now (ages 21-12) and, believe it or not, no longer want to spend every waking moment with me! I actually ask them to go to the grocery store just so I can spend a little more time with them. My struggle now is not time to rest, but how I rest. During my sabbath times, am I coming away renewed and encouraged, which is the product of real rest, or have I spent my time on weak substitutes? Am I hoping that my continual doses of distraction and entertainment supply what God says I need? That duo has been through the studies and the test trials of the ages. While they may seem to work in the short term, they've been shown over and over again to have just the opposite effect.
In Isaiah 40:31, we are told what is needed for real rest, real renewal.
"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
We have to set aside time to do this verse. It's a command. Rest. Sabbath.
One last thought. In that same sermon I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Matt Chandler referenced the following quote by Abraham Heschel that has pushed me to think more deeply and more practically about the sabbath rest and what it might look like. Lots of grace and freedom in these words.
A man who works with his mind will sabbath with his hands. A man who works with his hands will sabbath with his mind.
God gave Moses a top ten in Exodus 20. He meant them. Let's take another look at #4.