Sabbath is God’s, “You’ve done enough”

14 11 2016

The reason God gave His people the sabbath was not to add a legalistic requirement but to let us feel His approval. That is why, in our need for approval through performance, we need to recover and practice the sabbath-principle.

Sabbath let’s me hear God approvingly announce “enough.” He smiles on the work I have done and tells me it is sufficient, and that He will make up the lack. Sabbath changes the responsibility from “mine” to “ours”. Practicing sabbath changes my schedule from work-dominant to balanced trusting. It acknowledges that God cares about my time and what I do with it. He cares that I am productive but guards me against idolizing what I do.

My first thought was that sabbath is a way I invite God into my life, but on further reflection I see it as a way God invites me into His life. As God balances productivity and contentment, I am welcomed into the same balance and experience more of God’s way of living.

How do we share in God’s way of doing work and sabbath? How do I stop short of completely defining what I will do, leaving space for God to move in and share the work with me? How do we share the steering wheel with God?

I don’t have answers for you, but here is how I relate to this. One thing I can do is to stop manipulating my opportunities. Instead, I can watch for what God brings and flow with that. I can nurture the relationships God brings my way. These may not be the ones I would have sought. They may not seem strategic, but they are God-sent.

I can also watch for, and honor the giftings and passions of the people God brings. These people may take us in directions we did not foresee, but again they are ways God can invite us into His life.

A third way is to acknowledge my inability and dependency to accomplish the work myself. This makes room for God. I can do this with joy, not with guilt or frustration, for it means the work is a partnership with God. (The feeding of the 5,000 exemplifies this: “You feed the people.” “Well, what do you have?”  “Ok, I’ll work with that — have the people sit down.”)

I don’t think there is any part of my work that is exactly what I want it to be. Could that be a gracious working of God in showing me how we can share the load? My perpetual feeling of inadequacy is God’s invitation to sabbath and His assurance, “I like what you’ve done. It’s enough. Now rest.”

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