Today I am linking up again with the lovely Naomi for “Monday’s Musings.”
“[Turn] back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable; honour it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly.” ISAIAH 58:13
I developed a “I need to do everything” mentality at a young age.
In sixth grade, I was literally a part of every school club besides sports. I did “office helping,” worked in the library, was on the “green team,” dance team, writing club, a cross guard, and had either dance, drama, or singing lessons every night of the week.
Yup, I was that kid.
I don’t really know how much I loved all of those activities at the age of 11, or, more importantly, felt called to them. I do now, however, have knowledge of the spiritual roots of that false “need.” And I have experienced healing and renewal even from that long ago harbouring the prideful identity of “needed perfection” in myself.
And, recently, I have been drawn to some prayer and study on the sanctity of the Sabbath Day.
It is a part of the Ten Commandments. It was one that was always kind of “glossed over” in Sunday school, perhaps because my teachers thought, “What does the holiness of a day of rest require of a ten-year-old?”
“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.” LEVITICUS 23:3
This week I am personally faced with one of the most low key and undemanding weeks– as far as personal and earthly schedules go, that is– that I can remember for some time. What is amazing about this is that, as I reflect on this past semester and remember a day in early January in which the Lord instructed me that this was to be a season of rest and healing, I have been certainly busy, but Christ alone has given the rest He needed of me in ways beyond such earthly schedules, equipping me for His glory. A good, good Father we serve.
I was struck with an “old habit” thought– no longer a false need– that I should pick up shifts at work, fill up my days, and essentially tire myself out.
A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! PSALM 92:1-3
What is the Sabbath for? To praise Him not just in the midst of work for, we pray, only His praise and glory, but just to praise Him because He is. When we are working HE IS. When we are “eating or opening a window or just walking dully along” (W.H. Auden), HE IS.
And so I knew that that “old habit” thought was one that derived from wanting to fill up, not to work for Him, therefore in Him and expounding His love, but much the opposite. The old habit’s derivation was of something that wanted to prevent Him. And while picking up shifts is not bad, my work is meant to, and can only be, a ministry through which the Spirit works. And so Lord, of course I can pick up shifts, and I pray You humble me to do so only for Your glory; that You continue to use my place of work as a place of ministry and revelation of Your love; that You continue to teach me there, and those who enter that place, and those I work with, for Your purposes.
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” MATTHEW 12:9-12
Jesus here declares Himself Lord over the Sabbath; more knowledgable than the Jews and the Pharisees, because of course, The Sabbath was and is His law, and for Him. Jesus does not here instruct to do good on the Sabbath, but rather that it is lawful; and, therefore, in His living Spirit, we will always simply “do good” on these days appointed for rest and holiness; no longer out “law” or “religion,” but Christ-directed, Christ-appointed, Spirit-led praise and honour.
Lord, let Your praise and honour be the only song of my work and rest; and show me when you call me *just* to rest for You and in You.