WHY DON’T I HONOR THE SABBATH?
This command had no precedent in the cultures that surrounded ancient Israel. No other people of that time had any such practice of dropping all work for one day and setting the day aside as a day of worship and rest and family togetherness. So why did God command it? More personally…why should I honor the Sabbath?
Intellectually I understand the value of Sabbath.
I understand the importance of rest. Leonardo da Vinci points out, “Every now and then go away—even briefly, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer; since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power.” Warren Wiersbe adds, “The ability to calm your soul and wait before God is one of the most difficult things in the Christian life. Our old nature is restless…the world around us is frantically in a hurry. But a restless heart usually leads to a reckless life.” Rest restores us, enables us to think more clearly, rescues us from reckless living, and gives us space to draw closer to God.
I understand the importance of worship. Chuck Swindoll remarks, “What comes from the Lord because it is impossible for humans to manufacture it? Wisdom. What comes from humans because it is impossible for the Lord to experience it? Worry. And what is it that brings wisdom and dispels worry? Worship.” Committing a day each week to worshiping God is vital in moving our souls from worry to wisdom.
I understand the importance of saving time for family. Zig Ziglar writes, “My friend and colleague, Sheila Murray Bethel, points out that she has never heard a man say at the end of his career, ‘If I had it to do over I’d get up earlier and go down to the corporation and get on with my career. I’d stay later and work harder.’ She has heard, and so have I, many men say, ‘If I had to do it over, I’d spend more time with my family. I’d get to know my kids better. I’d court my wife more.’” Saving a day for family is one of the richest investments of our time and life.
I understand the importance of Sabbath, so why don’t I practice it more faithfully?
Ruth Haley Barton identifies the problem in me. She writes, “Sabbath keeping honors the body’s need for rest, the spirit’s need for replenishment and the soul’s need to delight itself in God for God’s own sake. It begins with willingness to acknowledge the limits of our humanness and then to take steps to live more graciously within the order of things. And the first order of things is that we are creature and God is the Creator. God is the one who is infinite; I, on the other hand, must learn to live within the physical limits of time and space and the human limits of my own strength and energy…. God is the only one who can be all things to all people. God is the only one who can be two places at once. God is the one who never sleeps. I am not. We can’t remind ourselves of this enough. This is pretty basic stuff, but many of us live as though we don’t know it.”
That’s my problem with Sabbath. I live as though I am Creator instead of created. I lie to myself and say that I ought to be able to do all things and be all places. My problem with Sabbath-keeping is that I do not admit to myself that my own strength and energy are limited and that I am subject to the need for rest and replenishment.