Slow down and rest
Last Sunday, Pastor Chris preached about slowing down the busyness of life so that we can take full advantage of the Sabbath blessing that God wisely provided for us. In households where parents are raising children, where people are working, going to school, heading out each day to face the daily grind–a scheduled and intentional Sabbath rest is important. How can you stop and get recharged to face the next week if you haven’t had a chance to catch your breath from the week you just skated through!
When I was working, I appreciated the concept of Sabbath because it was a chance to justify the pause in my life. I could order in take out food, relax on the sofa with a good book or a movie, or spend time with friends, not feeling guilty that I wasn’t tackling my housework or laundry or other projects that were energy stealing rather than restoring.
But what about now? Now that I have joined the ranks of the retired, what does Sabbath look like for us? When you have more control over every day, is it easier or harder to schedule in true Sabbath time?
Curiously, I have found it a bit more of a challenge! I don’t know if other retired, or non-employed people find this to be true as well and I’d love to chat with you about your experiences. For me, because there is a different feel to the rhythm of the day, it is harder to set one day aside that is purely my Sabbath. And what that says to me is that I was not really doing a good job of Sabbath before I stopped working! If I had been I think that would have continued without interruption. What I was doing was collapsing in exhaustion out of necessity instead of out of intention to honor God with a specific day, and to rest so that I could serve him more ably.
As Pastor Chris said, “Jesus lived his life with enough margin that he had room to be compassionate to the crowds. He rested and retreated regularly so that he could respond to need.”
We need that margin in our lives as well and that does not end when we are retired. A Sabbath rest is what keeps us in the race for the long run. This is not a sprint Paul tells us, rather a marathon. As we age, we need to protect our spiritual legs so that we don’t falter toward the end of our race.
Our Sabbath practice is an expression of our dependence upon God. It says to anyone watching that we acknowledge and profess that we need God, we can’t do it all on our own and that we are not indispensable to anyone. As older Christians, we have a spiritual duty to teach well, the younger believers who are coming up behind us. They need to see us leading the way in solid “holy habits”. The observance of a Sabbath is one of these.
So I am making a commitment to build in a protected time of Sabbath to my week. I will include things that I like to do and that restore me when I feel tired and empty. If you don’t already do this, join me! As Pastor Chris also said, “Jesus rested. We can rest.”