Monday Morning Grace: The Sabbath

“Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God… You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” – Deuteronomy 5:12-15

As the sounds of coughing and sneezing fill the air with the changing of seasons and I find myself fighting off bouts of sickness, I began to wonder why God created sickness.

Why create something, God, that simply slows life down and causes everyone unwanted pain or discomfort?

Not the first time I have thrown that question at God I might add, and not the first time He has reminded me with much patience and a fatherly smile that He allows me to undergo short-term sicknesses that bring coughs and sneezes to remind me of my humanity.

It reminds me of the temporary nature of my body.

“Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day…For we know the if the earthly tent in which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven…” 2 Cor. 4:16-5:1-2

I was not designed to operate and live all by myself, but rather I was designed to operate under a strength outside myself.

“I lie down and sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” – Psalm 3:5

So thank you Lord for being my sustainer and the reason I wake up every morning.

Beyond that, Lord thank you for reminding me that I was not made to walk through each day fueled by my own desire to succeed or accomplish.

If I succeed and accomplish according to my own strength, I am bringing myself glory.

Rather, it is my desire that I might decrease and Christ might increase. (John 3:30)

So, I want to live according to His strength so that He may be glorified in my weakness. However, once He walked me back through this train of thought, He took me one step further.

I was praying for the Lord to convict my heart of any ways I had failed to walk out in His strength and instead of pointing me to a specific instance, He walked me back through the last semester to allow me to see how little I had truly rested in the Lord.

At first I didn’t find this worthy of something to repent about.

I thought, “Well that’s good God, but resting seems more about me.” It seemed a little self-focused to repent of not resting well.

And then He replied, “But I commanded it.”

Oof.

It had been awhile since I had been reminded that “Sabbathing” or resting in the Lord is not jus a suggestion for those weeks that have felt particularly rough.

It’s not up to me to decide which weeks are good weeks to Sabbath, and God showed me why.

When I left it up to me to decide when to rest, I didn’t do it all. I simply found more things to fill that time with.

Resting in the Lord is a commandment. If God rested on the seventh day, it seems awfully high of me to think its in my or anybody’s best interest to just keep trucking seven days a week.

It’s a commandment both for our good (my sanity and peace) and for His glory.

As responsibilities heat up each day I get older, I sense a crash and burn coming if I don’t learn to Sabbath well now.

Plus, just like He looked really good when the Israelites kept the Sabbath and then produced more from their farms than neighboring tribes, He looks really good when I keep the Sabbath and then work just as efficiently (and usually more efficiently) as when I don’t Sabbath.

Furthermore, “Sabbathing” is a discipline in and of itself.

It takes discipline to not fall into the American mindset of more work=more money/fame/happiness.

We have been called to embody a different mindset, one that trusts our sustainer and provider to provide more than we need if we obey His command to rest and remember the ways He has brought us out of slavery into freedom.

“So thank you Lord for reminding me through sickness that I am meant to find my life in You and part of how You desire to breath life into me is through rest. So Lord, teach me to rest well and teach our American culture to rest well. Show us what that looks like to remember the Sabbath in our present day and for each of us individually. Let us find a joy and peace that come only from You as we enjoy You in our Sabbath. I am sorry Lord for disobeying your command to rest and I pray You make me into one who finds deep life in the weekly Sabbath rest and that You would receive much glory when I keep Your Sabbath holy. I trust You with that time Lord. In Your precious Son Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Shalom (Peace)

-Matt

 

Matt Larsen, a sports writer for the Lariat, writes the Monday Morning Grace posts on faith and Christianity.

The Burleson Boogie Chapel

The man who runs Chapel, Dr. Burt Burleson, gave the students in Chapel on Monday more than just words of inspiration.
Burleson, the university Chaplain and dean for spiritual life at Baylor, provided all in attendance with the “Burleson Boogie” during the Chapel program featuring the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir.