When I was a kid, my brothers told me that I couldn’t take more than 10 steps on Sundays because it was against the Sabbath rules. I remember thinking that everyone I knew was blatantly disobeying God’s commands but nobody cared.
At one point I assumed that the Sabbath was only about church, and if you didn’t go to church on Sunday, that was bad.
Saturday night service was always anti-sabbath to me, until my thoughts were challenged in high school by a friend who belonged to a church/sect that is completely dedicated to the belief that the actual Sabbath should be from sundown on Friday evening to sundown on Saturday evening. That encounter really made me wonder if I was totally disrespecting God with my actions of going out of my house on Friday nights and doing homework on Saturdays.
So, I’ve already misinterpreted the Sabbath many times in my life, and now I’m trying to interpret it correctly. So here’s what God has been teaching me:
This cartoon is actually a really good picture of what the Sabbath feels like to me. In one word, it feels selfish. Just like this kid shows, the Sabbath kind-of sounds like an excuse to not do what you should do.
I’m reading a book right now called Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life. The author references her idea of “Sabbath Simplicity” a lot in it, which explains why I’m reading it. I like the book; it’s as good as any other Christian how-to book. But every suggestion she makes reads as selfishness. I can’t seem to shake my opinion and learn with an open mind.
Let me re-phrase: To me, the very idea of taking a whole day to rest seems lazy. I instantly consider the question, “but what would I do?”
There are two reasons I think this a natural reaction for me:
One: If there have been busy-bodies in every generation, my generation has reached new heights. We’ve developed any and every way to simply keep busy. And not just my generation, but my nation is the hardest working nation, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Breaks are for losers in America! So if I’m going to rest, I’d like to accomplish something while I’m at it!
Two: The amount of stuff to do that has no impact on the real working world is astounding. It’s disgusting actually. I can “do” so much and accomplish so little these days. So if I’m going to rest, I’d rather not kill brain cells by watching TV all day or the like.
So, because I was raised to work hard, rest seems like laziness or like I’m shirking my responsibilities. And because I was raised with pile of technology that accomplishes nothing as you use it, laziness reaches new levels.
I want to actively follow all of God’s commands to us, including this one, but I just don’t want to be lazy!
Ok, I need to start bullet-pointing. Enough about how I feel about the Sabbath, here’s what I’m applying to my life:
- I just can’t be convinced that the Sabbath has to be on a particular day of the week. Sunday, Saturday, the debate will go one but if that Sabbath is about having a day of rest and not work, do Pastors ever get a Sabbath? Exactly. So for me, it made sense to make the Sabbath the most free day for me anyway: Sunday. Although it could have been Thursday or Monday for all I think it matters.
- Anything that drains me is work in my opinion. So I’m trying not to do anything that drains me on Sundays. What drains me? Still working on that list.
- I’m trying NOT to do things that are simply time-wasters. Being on facebook all day, or sleeping all day, or watching tv allll day are not my idea of a Sabbath. These things usually make me more tired and lazy, rather than bringing rest.
- I think I’m going to make Sunday’s about doing things that I like doing in contrast to what drains me. Spending time with Bryan, creating things, hanging out with my easiest friends, enjoying the Lord.
- I do want to prepare my soul and life for the week to come. I feel rested when I feel prepared, so I’m also going to spend some time on Sunday figuring out my goals for the week and preparing.
- Last, but certainly not least, I definitely don’t want the Sabbath to focus around me and my rest, but around the Lord, and accessing His restful peace in a sort-of fresh way.
I’m sorry if you were expecting more from me, especially after waiting so long to read this (yes, I have resorted to back-dating my posts…). But this area is still a little foggy for me and I have the feeling it will take more than a few months to learn.
Click here for all the other links to my thoughts on what God has been teaching me.