By Julie Smith
Rest can be defined as both a noun and a verb. Interesting. You can think of getting a good rest, in which case you are describing a state of inactivity or repose. You can actively place your rest on something like hope and trust. The word Sabbath means, “to rest”. It is a day of resting. Rest can be active or inactive–a state of being–or an act of placing your trust in something or upon someone. Sabbath can be a religious holiday or a tradition. Or it can be a day to enter a state of rest, a state of trusting, and a day of relationship.
The idea of Sabbath came from the Genesis account of creation where God “rested” from His work of creating and decided to create a day of rest. It sounds like God actively rested on the day He made for completing His creation. Sabbath is both a noun and a verb. A day for entering into repose, a completion of the week, a ceasing of activity, and a day for seeking relationship and for putting your trust in God.
I’m glad God decided to create a rest. If the Creator had not created a day for ceasing in my week, I would go on until I fell over from exhaustion because I don’t seem to have the sense to stop. I would of course stop now and then, but probably not every week for 24 hours.
The idea of a weekly Sabbath really seems like a luxury when there is so much to do. The Sabbath to me is evidence that we live in an abundant universe. God evidently felt that there was so much time, that one day a week to rest was just right and that we would still have plenty of time to get everything else done.
If you don’t really believe this, however, it doesn’t do much good to try and squeeze some rest out of a day when you spend the whole time worrying about all that you have to do. If you can’t truly enter into the idea of rest, you might as well go ahead and work on your “to do” list because you’re not going to get any resting done anyway.
God didn’t create Sabbath as some legal requirement for our salvation. Sabbath was created for our restoration and enjoyment. If we find no enjoyment in resting, then we probably have some other issues that we need to work on first before we can enjoy the idea of not being busy. Some things that come to mind for me is the belief that I’m not good enough. If I don’t think I deserve some time off because I’m too busy trying to please God, then I will have a hard time resting.
If I view life through the lens of scarcity, then I will have a hard time affording a whole day for re-creating. If I don’t see myself as worth that time, I will probably turn the day into something that is filled with requirements and restrictions and supports my idea of scarcity. If I don’t view my salvation as complete then I will try and observe the day out of some arbitrary effort to please a God that I view as rigid and cold and relentless in His fastidiousness to detail.
The Sabbath that is a blessing to me is the one that I enter into just as I enter into my relationship with God. I enter the Sabbath as a state of repose. I enter it by placing my trust in God as the Creator of All, the Restorer of All, and the Hope of All. What I do or don’t do on the Sabbath is not as important as what is in my heart. Joy, peace, hope, and love are the perfect ingredients for having a good day of rest. Mix these with generous portions of the Spirit pour them all out and share them with everyone in your life and you will have a beautiful Sabbath rest. Shabbat Shalom!
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I had a dream last night, a dream of General Conference Sessions past and future. I stood in the center of a stadium, packed with people, all captivated by the music and stagecraft in front of them. I looked around and felt a sadness that kept growing inside of me until it was overwhelming.
Some time ago I was sitting in what quite possibly was the most boring church service I have ever been in. (No, I won’t tell you where I was.) There couldn’t have been more than 50 people in the sanctuary, and I’m being generous. We sang no less than 5 hymns. All hymns were sung in a dry, slow manner. The sermon seemed uninspired, barely prepared, and was presented with no sense of conviction. It felt like we were in church for three hours. We were in church for about 70 minutes.