14 January 2011

Suprise Sabbath

I sometimes live as if there are only two modes of life: all out and worn out.

You probably know what I mean. There are times when we pursue everyday accomplishments with a breathless pace, tackling to-do lists and marching toward life goals with enthusiasm. We chase  our ambitions for days and weeks at a time. We attend every game and cheer on the kids, start a new Bible study, listen deeply to our spouses, and do more with our moments. And its good. There is something intrinsically good about living life right with the One who gave it to us. And for a little while we feel entirely alive.

But it doesn't last. The enthusiasm melts before an onslaught of mounting responsibilities, off days and the often confusing nuts and bolts of life. By the time we've wrestled through these obstacles we're worn out. Suddenly we find that we don't have the energy to be patient or sensitive, or that we lack the inner reservoir to give to a friend who needs a little extra.

Which made me wonder: is there another way?

God snuck up on me with an answer. He gave me a surprise Sabbath. 

It was a rare time when God had allowed me to knock off all my goals for the week and I had, much to my surprise, a day without many planned activities. I did a little bit of this and that but the real wonder was what God was doing. He was giving me a Sabbath. You know, the biblical idea to put aside one day of the week to truly rest, do those things that fill up instead of take away . . . those things that bring life with God. I found myself drinking deeply of His goodness and topped the day off with a walk around the block: just me and Him. 

And you know what? It made all the difference in the world for me. I guess that's what Jesus is talking about when He explains that, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." It was made for me. God's gift to finite creatures prone to the silliness of busyness.    

Thank you, Jesus. For giving me what I need when I need it. Thank you for giving me You. You are the real treasure, the true joy and my worthiest pursuit. 


  1. Have a Surprise Sabbath, as you say, is a rare treat! Often, my days of are consumed with family to do lists, struggles and "marching orders!"

  2. Great blog Dan. It makes be think of Abraham Heschel's "Sabbath". A day of true rest does wonders for the soul. Not only this but it is a testament to the counter cultural revolution of Christ: you must truly rest to truly work. Furthermore, it is a sign to that we are not the ones who move, create, and govern this world. When we do nothing the world goes on, unimpeded by the loss of our toil which seems so important. It is God who has full agency in this world.