Sunday, May 18, 2014

On Sabbath

This post is a preface to a life update.

A heart at peace brings life to the body.
- Proverbs 14.30

I looked at the progression of events in the past year and the honesty in each post.  The initial hesitancy to step out to follow my passions.  Hearing God’s affirmations.  Following those passions.  Getting over-ambitious…. and bringing me to where I am now: feeling tired.

It is possible to do too much of the thing that you love.

To say that I am “tired” is an understatement.  I work with coffee daily (some weeks I reach 40-50 hrs), but there is no substitute for sleep.  I have been exhausted.  I can’t do it all, and I’m not supposed to.  So I came to discern what God called me to do, and what He's allowed me to do.

It’s like differentiating between tithes and offering.  There’s the tithe - the requirement that He asks us to give in obedience.  And there's the offering - gifts that I offer as a sacrifice to Him. 

My tithe is the Sabbath.  My offering is my gifts and talents that I bless Him with.  And my friends, this is where I unfortunately went wrong.  

It’s easy to lay my life down in the name of God and spend myself - my time, my energy, my resources, my sanity - for the sake of “loving” God and others, and not adhere to His commandment to be at rest.  Obedience is better than sacrifice.  And God requires that I obey and honor the Sabbath, and keep it holy.  To keep the Sabbath as a non-negotiable is better than all the sacrifices I make and things I accomplish.

We do not run till we collapse, then in our exhaustion take a breather that we dub as "Sabbath rest."  The Sabbath is not the leftover gift we bring to God, it is not the remains of the energy spent on our namesake or achievements - even if we are called to do these things.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
- Hebrews 4.8-11

There are many theological dives we could take, exploring the necessity and importance of Sabbath.  But at the core of it, the Sabbath is a time of rest, a time of connection with God, a time of intentional relationship.  It's the reminder that our works do not save or sanctify us, they do not justify us or redeem us.  And those are the things that matter most; those are the things that come solely from the grace of God.  It is a matter of balance.  God calls us to fulfill His work, but He also calls us to rest.  The two hold hands.

For workaholics such as myself, taking intentional rest is an act of humility, to admit that we cannot do it on our own.  Our strengths, thoughts, abilities, and convictions are weak and meaningless without Him, and we cannot give what we have not first received.  We need His strength; and His strength is found in rest.

In repentance and rest is your salvation.
In quietness and trust is your strength.
- Isaiah 30.15


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