If you’re like me and have started school again, you should probably go take a nap (after reading this post of course). You need it, I need it, we all understand.
I don’t know about all of you but I have just been absolutely slammed by the beginning of this school year! I know that junior year is the “big year” for colleges and stuff, but I wasn’t expecting the intensity of the workload that got drop-kicked onto me on about day two!
Sure I had been working a good amount at my job so at least I wasn’t going from a total blob back to a full-time student, but still… goodness gracious I didn’t prepare myself for this! Instead of switching to the whole other super-human God’s grace and coffee-powered gear that highschool requires beforehand, I’m now struggling to catch up and stay sane, not the easiest task when I feel like I haven’t had the chance to catch my breath.
Now look, I’m not trying to complain or unload all my “struggles” here, I’m trying to express the reality of what life can feel like sometimes, and of course to smoothly segue into the topic of today’s post, the biblical Sabbath.
I’ll start with a quote from the Bible study my mom and I did this summer called S.H.A.P.E. by Eric Rees that says that the Sabbath is a time to “Let your soul catch up with your body.” As soon as I read this I couldn’t help but identify with the feeling of having left my soul behind in the race to get all my work done.
In this section of the book that discussed Sabbath rest, I was just amazed when all these verses about Sabbath revealed how serious God was about something I was so casual about. God didn’t have to rest on the seventh day of creation, He did it just to stick it to us that that was how we were supposed to function. God napped to make a point! And yes, though I did memorize the ten commandments in Sunday School when I was little, it didn’t register at ALL that literally one of God’s “Top Ten Tips from Your Creator” was to chill for a day and, like Erik Rees said, let our souls catch up from all of the running we’ve been doing the whole week.
From the God who formed us, who knows us better than we can ever know ourselves, who lives and works in us, REST. God made a day for man (Mark 2:27) set it apart, made it holy, and blessed it (Genesis 2:3) because He knows we need it. Even if it doesn’t feel like you need it, even if it doesn’t feel like you deserve it, even if it means working harder another day, your Creator is telling you how it’s going to be if you want to be obedient and live in full submission.
I know how hard this is, trust me! I’m sitting here after finishing up laundry and homework all on a day when I’m supposed to be posturing my heart to experience renewal through respite. And if this is hard for me, just a kid with a couple work hours, some projects, and a backpack full of homework, I can’t even imagine how hard this would be for others who have so much more on their plates.
Now the good thing is that this doesn’t mean that Sabbath is a legalistic set of 24 hours where nothing is allowed, that’s what the Pharisees preached and Jesus totally shut them down, but it is a serious matter that should be obeyed just as much as any other commandment. And, like any other commandment, the heart behind it matters.
You can’t just lay on the couch all day but internally be exhausting yourself with worry and worldliness, Sabbath is for the soul to be led beside still waters and be filled again after a week of pouring into others. In the same way though, Sabbath isn’t supposed to be all internal, God does say that Sabbath is a physical action as well, and again this isn’t a legalistic can’t-even-eat-wheat-seeds-when-you’re-in-the-wheat-field-and-starving (Mark 2:23-28) type of day, but it’s an intentional time to put aside work and focus on reviving the soul in the presence of God.
So keeping the Sabbath is something I need to be much more intentional about, because “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28).