THIS SERIES: ENJOYING SABBATH REST
If rest is important to the effectiveness of our bodies, it is also important to our souls and spirits.
that your ox and your donkey may rest,
and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed
[Exodus 23:12 NKJV]
Sabbath is a time for us to both breathe and be breathed upon.
We need that ‘exhalation’, that completing of a work period as seen in the last post; but we also need to put ourselves in the way of God, so that the wind of His Spirit blows across our lives preparing us for the next season.
SABBATH GIVES US TIME TO RECALIBRATE
The ‘One in Sixty Rule’ states that a path of travel which deviates by 1 degree off course will miss the intended destination by 1 mile for roughly every 60 miles of travel. So an aeroplane, for example, would miss its target landing spot by 92 feet for every mile it flew – with enormous consequences – we can imagine the problems on a long-distance flight!
The stuff of life has a tendency, little by little, to pull us off course; things crop up which demand our attention and distract us from our purpose. Our response can be to feel anxious and depressed – we’ve failed again – or we can recognise this is normal. However if we are not going to end up miles off-course we need to take time at intervals to recalibrate.
We need first of all to turn our hearts and affection towards the Lord, to centre our gaze once more on the One who gives everything meaning. It is only in relationship with Him that we can truly be ‘on course’.
- What am I here for?
- What is my unique purpose?
Take some Sabbath time with the Lord to reflect on these questions. The answers are important. Try and write down your conclusion as a statement of intent. During your later rest periods, you can use this statement as your plumb line for adjustment.
SABBATH GIVES US TIME TO PREPARE
Having re-centred yourself, you can then use Sabbath time to prepare for the days to come. This is not about planning and diaries, reading reports and preparing meetings; this is about the prayerful preparation of body, soul and spirit. This is about the refreshment which comes from worship, the nourishment of the Word, the healing power of breaking bread, the encouragement of other believers and the transformative grace of His Presence.
This Sabbath time is not confined to church services or meetings; in fact sometimes it is easy to be so busy with ‘ministry’, or so taken up with the ‘atmosphere’ that we fail to come away refreshed and changed. Real Sabbath-time can be experienced anywhere – in the hills, at the beach, in the car or front room; and can be an individual activity, as well as one shared with family and special friends. It doesn’t require a large gathering to be effective.
A health-giving sabbath involves looking back & putting a seal of completion over what has gone before. It means making adjustments in the present so we are re-centred and back on track, and it should prepare us, body, mind and spirit for the days ahead.
It also is about enjoying the Lord's provision - more about this on Thursday!
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