THIS SERIES: HOW TO FIND REST IN THE LORD
One of the things we are looking forward to, as lockdown restrictions are finally ending, is spending a weekend with special friends which will entail much laughter, good food prepared in advance, the delights of the British countryside, lots of sharing and fellowship, learning, praying and breaking bread together—all in the presence of the Lord. A weekend from which we will return feeling refreshed and recalibrated, stirred up again in faith and purpose.
This is Sabbath—taking time out from our work-a-day lives to enjoy and celebrate the rich provision of God; a period of time when appliances are switched off, work is halted, when the cook has a respite, and we can refocus on what is truly important. A period to celebrate divine provision, and relax in His grace.
Paul made it clear that we are no longer required to keep the Law laid down in the Old Testament, which pointed to the greater reality which is found in Christ. This included the obligation to keep special days as Sabbaths or festivals.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
However, we do need regular days of rest in order to be healthy, days when we invest in life-giving relationships, celebrate creation, enjoy good food prepared with love, share spiritual insights and most importantly, the presence of God. Days when we find refreshment for the whole person: body, soul and spirit. Too many of us have jam-packed weeks, followed by equally taxing weekends and wonder why we struggle with chronic stress.
We need days when we find refreshment for the whole person: body, soul and spirit. Too many of us have jam-packed weeks, followed by equally taxing weekends, and wonder why we struggle with chronic stress.
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Sunday is often seen as the ‘Sabbath’ by Christians, but in reality is often far from a day of rest, and frequently is the busiest day of the week. Hundreds are involved each week in meeting-hall preparation, ushering, preaching, serving refreshments, children’s work, worship leading, clearing up, and a host of other worthy commitments. Then it’s back home for the Sunday roast, and a short rest, then often back to church for the evening service. Valuable contributions they all might be, but definitely not rest! And if you add these activities to the remainder of the local church programme, no wonder so many Christians suffer from burn-out.
So let’s try to carve out real Sabbath-time for ourselves, periods of rest when our mechanical work-horses are silent, when we can spend time being rather than doing, when we can recalibrate our bodies, souls and spirits in the presence of the Lord. To be sure we will need some creative ideas from the Lord, especially if we have care responsibilities for family members or young children, workaholic partners or huge business commitments. But God promises to give wisdom to those who ask. And even an hour is better than nothing.
IT'S OK TO SAY NO!
Does commitment to Christ means burn-out?
OVER TO YOU...
[Photo credits: Etienne Gerrardet (girl); Pawel Czerwinski (traffic light); Alec Gomes (matches) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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