Feb 4, 2006


So the family and I just got back from a couple of days away in the Chicago area. I'm working with a group called SonLife on a writing project and they graciously invited Katie and the boys to come with. We enjoyed a nice hotel room and experienced some well needed rest and relaxation, not to mention some extra time to let the little guys be loud and crazy in the ways that boys need to be boys. In fact, we even hit the Museum of Science and Industry and let them push every button they could find.

There's something about "ejecting" from the chaos of life.
The Scriptures speak of this in a couple of ways, from a year of jubilee to a Sabbath that we are to regularly take with the Lord. Over time, though, we've done one of two things with this concept - we've either ignored it because we're "too busy" or have treated it merely as a day of rest... often away from the God who instituted it.

My wife and I recently discussed this whole issue and had a pretty heavy chat about what it looks like for us to honor God in this. Back in the day when I had a full-time job it was easy to say, "Monday is my day off - a Sabbath for me to spend with God and my family." As times got crazy, though, and I needed to scramble for work I started grabbing Sabbath wherever I could find it. Or rather, scraps of a Sabbath that were consistently inconsistent.

Back in the Old Testament days, the original Sabbath spoken of in the Ten Commandments was given to the Israelites who had just fled Egypt. While it was a holy command, it was also a gift to a nation of people who were used to working around the clock as slaves. God utilized this moment in time to show them the spirit of His creation rhythm - six days on and one day off. Since Jesus was the fullness of the deity in bodily form, he affirmed this principle.

That said, though, Jesus also challenged the legality of this standard. When questioned about healing on the Sabbath, Christ took the time to explain what the spirit of the Sabbath was all about. On several occasions, he helped people to see that in the past and present, things would happen on the Sabbath to promote good over evil (i.e. David eating consecrated bread, people untying their donkeys, etc). In this way, he affirmed what he said in Mark 2:27, that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

With all of this in mind, I believe the Scriptures show that we were built to both work AND eject. It's like my oldest son who doesn't think he needs an afternoon nap... and yet me make him lay down either way. Whether he realizes it or not, his body needs a down time or else he will find himself a bit edgier, crabbier, and louder by the end of the day. We know this as his parents and so we institute it as a command. The reality, though, is that it is a gift for him and everyone else around him.

The same is true for all of us. If we don't take the time to be still before our Creator we just might think that the world depends on our energy to keep it moving. I often ponder about how important this is in ministry, especially in regards to exemplifying and living a pattern of dependence upon God. A congregation needs to know that its leaders intentionally practice the presence of God and live a life submitted to Him... even if it means they don't sneak in on their day off to prove to everyone how hard a worker they are.

As the original Sabbath in Genesis 2 illustrates, ejecting with God is more than a day of rest but it is a day of restORATION. It's pushing back from the table and enjoying what He has served up in our lives. As we do and spend time in His truth, we will remember that God is God, we aren't, and He is ultimately working to redeem our lives and this world back to their original context.

The Lord is consistent and unchanging, allowing us to look back and see that He doesn't occasionally "show up" but is always at work in every life on the planet. Through the Scriptures and by being still, we can realize a combination of biblical knowledge and experiential awareness that allows us to worship God for who He really is... and not just the blur we occasionally see in our busyness. In this way the Sabbath is a past, present, and future exclamation point.

So in our family we're back to regular Monday "Sabbaths," "family days," and "ejecting" with God.

I love wrestling with what it means to revere the Lord in the mundane and eject with the people that he has given me to love on and be loved by. And the beauty is that not only can this happen during a 24 hour period we set aside for restoration but it can even be a core part of every day of the week.

Personally, I like Mondays again.

"Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27)

1 comment:

Sandra said...

wow...as a worship minister, (and a woman), I feel like I need people to know how hard I'm working. Many don't really know what I do. What my tasks are...what my job is. They're glad I'm there, but don't really know what it is I am doing while at work if we're not in the middle of a worship conference or musical presentation of some kind.

So, yes, I feel like I need to be there around the clock because what if somebody important comes by when I'm not there? They'll think I don't work very hard.

In the mean time, my house is not in order and I have no clue what we will have for dinner because I haven't been home at all to figure it out!

Your blog was insightful, humble, and wise. Thank you.