Wednesday, May 11, 2016
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. Exodus 20:8(NLT)
I want to give you four practical ways to keep the Sabbath in your heart, and in your life. They are in the form of an acrostic:
Mother Teresa said God is rarely found in the midst of noise and restlessness; instead, He is the friend of silence. By all accounts this lady knew where to find God! She learned it from a good friend of mine, the carpenter from Nazareth:
“…Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28(NLT)
As Vance Havner used to say: If we don't come apart, we'll come apart! So, come apart; retreat to rest. And then, while you're resting,
Some time ago I went through a comprehensive assessment of what I do as a minister. A psychologist friend sat with me over a two day period and helped me look at my strong and weak points. It was very revealing. One part of the findings indicated something I've known all along, but didn't have the words to describe; I am by far an introvert, but lean towards being a bashful extrovert. That means I love to be with people, but find it hard to initiate contact. I usually wait to be invited. (So, if you're wondering why I haven't invited myself over to dinner – I'm waiting!)
Evaluation of who we are and what we do is a necessary part of keeping our lives balanced. If you are prone to hands-on, doing and going, but not much quiet time, keeping the Sabbath may mean a concentrated effort on some solitude.
Saying no (and yes) is a learned skill. In that ministry assessment I made several decisions about what I will (and will not) try to do in ministry. Because I have always had difficulty saying “no” to any request, I had to begin finding ways to do that so my “yes” would become more efficient and effective.
For me, keeping Sabbath balance means being more disciplined with the time I do have. I have a friend who always has some unfinished work at the end of the day. He asked his secretary to put the work in what he calls the Residue file folder. She asked him what he meant. He said, I've done what I can today, the res-I-do tomorrow!
So, retreat to rest, evaluate yourself for balance, say no or yes to control the balance, and every now and then, or regularly…
In certain parts of the world you cannot get anything done at a Power luncheon; there is no such thing. That part of the world closes down.
I like what James Hewett said about that: When we were borrowing customs from other cultures, who passed up the siesta?
There is an old saying about ministers who quit their churches after a particularly bad Wednesday. When other preachers hear the man's left, they shake their collective heads and sigh, If only he'd taken a nap Monday! Friends, when you're stressed and bothered – keep balanced – never underestimate the value of a good nap.
James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1988), 495.