Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work: NIV
Today I woke up with a totally new respect for my Abba. He made the heaven and the earth before He had to take a rest. I made breakfast for 13 and I was so exhausted I needed a nap. I think it will take me at least a month to recover from youngest daughter’s wedding and all the family that came. Don’t get me wrong. I love my children. All ten of them. And their spouses and significant others. And the 6 grandchildren. But after a week with them all staying at our house, I am ready to go back to my own chaotic little life. I wonder if our Father looks down and hopes we don’t come home too soon.
Sunday is the day that our Father chose as the day of rest. Rest has come to mean many different things to different people. I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer to defining rest. To me rest is a day that I putter around outside, filling my bird feeders, reading a book in the shade, writing letters to my kids, and maybe a walk down on the waterway to listen to the musical fountain. To others it may be a day at the lake with family, enjoying the water and the beautiful outside air. To some it might mean a day of napping and tv watching. Even others might use it to travel to relatives homes or a drive by the shore. Whatever it means to you, it should be a day that starts with God and His gift of peace and rest.
Back in the stone age when I grew up, Sunday was truly a day of rest. Stores and restaurants were closed. it was hard to even buy gas on a Sunday. Sunday was the Sabbath. It was a day of church and family. Because you couldn’t go to the water park (not that we had any) or the movies or the mall or out to eat, it was the day you spent with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Or it was the day you made homemade ice cream and went swimming down at the lake. Yet always, more than anything, it was God’s day. A day to wear your best clothes and your shiny shoes. A day when mom fixed your hair extra special and you put a little extra dippity-do in your curls. (look it up, I can’t explain it to you younger ones) If you were having a really special Sabbath like Mother’s Day or Homecoming, your mom would put tissue curls with bobby pins into your hair the night before. You shined your shoes and polished your saddle oxfords. You only had one pair of sneakers and one pair of church shoes each year. (Can you imagine?) You never wore your church shoes other than Sunday unless you were going to a funeral or a school play. And even then you were threatened within an inch of your life about getting any scratches on your shoes.
Anyway, I digress. The Sabbath has come to be like any other day of the week for many people. The malls are open, the theatres are full, and the restaurants have lines out the door. Church is scheduled around our activities instead of the other way around. God seems to be an afterthought in our lives. Someone we run to when things are tough instead of a place we go every week to show our gratitude for the good things in our lives. I, more than most, realize that church is not necessarily a place of peace and comfort for some people. Just walking through the doors can bring back painful feelings of guilt and hurt. As a parent Himself, I know that God understands His children who feel that way. He knows the content of their heart. But as any parent, He also knows whats best for us. He knows we can never have what we need in life if we don’t come to Him on a weekly basis, at the very least.
My goal this year as I go forward is to make sure that I keep the Sabbath Day Holy. No eating out, no movies, no shopping. I know how hard it is. I have failed already several times. My Abba knows how much this means to me and He knows the intent of my heart. He doesn’t cover me with guilt and shame if I stumble and fall. He just gently places in my heart His reminder that I need to place His desires first. And He desires that I rest on Sunday. Rest my heart, rest my mind, rest my body. I need to come to Him ready to hear His desires for me. My morning devotions are my personal time with my Abba. The time I meet with Him and feel His love and gentle guidance. The Sabbath is the time when I meet with other Christians. Like minded broken people who I pray with and pray for. Time when I learn from a man given the gift of teaching who shares his insights into the words of the Lord. Time when I can share my needs and my gifts. Time when I can sing praises to Him and raise my Hands high in adoration. Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” NIV
This week I had all of my children and grandchildren with us in church. We took up an entire row. I watched them sing and smile and cry as they heard His words and sang His songs. It truly brought me peace and rest after a week of total and complete chaos. I will place last Sunday’s memory in my book of precious moments. Thank you Abba for showing me what rest really means.