Life is a juggling act with many balls in the air---we have work,
church commitments, soccer games, school activities, family responsibilities,
volunteer work---the number of balls we have in motion at one time can be
overwhelming. We can so easily find ourselves exhausted, breathless
and essentially “beside ourselves.” You know what that feels like—tired,
stressed, burned out and at odds with our friends and family.
In this whirlwind of commitments and obligations, we sometimes drop the ball
of the most important things; those being our relationship with God, with
others and with ourselves.
Jesus was tuned into those things in Luke 6:1-5 where we find him and his
disciples going through a grain field on the Sabbath. They were hungry
and his disciples picked up kernels of grain, rubbed them in their hands
and proceeded to eat them. The Pharisees were not pleased, as after
all, it was the Sabbath, a day in which no work was to be done. They
were referring back to the law that God established at the onset of creation
and throughout the life of the children of Israel to recognize the day of
rest and to keep it holy. The Pharisees, however, took the law and
began to embellish upon it, creating all sorts of rules and restrictions
in what they would define as “keeping it holy.” These were the rules
that they were trying to trip Jesus up on. Jesus essentially
pointed back to one of their revered forefathers, King David, who, when he
and his troops were starving, entered the temple, eating the bread that was
meant only for the priests. He was making the point that the purpose
of keeping the Sabbath is not legalistic obligation to a rule, but is a principle
that was created for our own good. He was “the Lord of the Sabbath,”
the Sabbath is not meant to be the lord of him.
What is the purpose of the Sabbath? The creation of the Sabbath
followed on the heels of the creation of the world. God took the time
to step back and take satisfaction in what had just transpired. In
effect, He was setting a pattern for our lives to follow. He
knew that people needed a Sabbath in their lives to create rest and balance,
a time to spend in worship of God and a preparation for the challenges of
life ahead. The purpose of the Sabbath is to help us:
*Relax: In our harried and busy lives, we need a day set apart to take
a deep breath, rest a little and take the time to be in the present and appreciative
of the many blessings God has given us.
*Reflect: We need the time to reflect on how God is working in our
lives, as those moments are difficult to create during the busy week.
*Reconnect: It is easy to lose sight of those who mean the most to
us---our family, friends, and God. We need to set apart time to invest
in those important relationships.
*Refresh: As we spend time in worship, we breathe in deeply God’s spirit,
giving us life and energy for the upcoming week.
*Regroup: As we look forward to the challenges of the week, a Sabbath
can give us balance, centeredness and clarity.
*Renew: Exhaustion and lethargy disappear as all of the disparate
pieces of our life fall into place when a Sabbath is experienced.
Observe the spirit of a Sabbath and it will keep you holy!