Sabbath Values

Gentle Reader,

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

– Exodus 20:8-11 (NKJV)

Did you know that I’m something called a “content creator?” That I’m supposed to have 20-25 new graphics cycling through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest every single day? That I’m supposed to respond to every tweet ever?

Oof.

There are a load of articles out there that purport to share the secrets to success, that will tell you how to do this writing thing “right.” Almost all of them encourage spending more time on the internet, specifically social media, than is healthy. How can it be healthy to dedicate most of your waking hours to attempting to “go viral” or catch clicks? Even with the use of scheduling tools, that’s a whole lot of minutes spent pinning and posting.

Minutes when the sun rises, bathing the new day in all its glorious color and promise.

Minutes when the snow falls, gently, covering the ground in a layer of pristine white.

Minutes when God beckons, His Spirit calling us to open up that Book and receive the goodness therein.

The first pages of Genesis tell us that work is God-designed and given. We get ourselves into trouble, and quickly, when we don’t have something useful with which to occupy our time. We need to live well and wisely, for the glory of God and the good of others. For me, this means writing, and writing in the year 2019 does equal social media in all of its weirdness.

What the year 2019 does not equal is a rejection of rest.

I work from home, here on this blog and as a virtual assistant for a couple of ministries. It’s hard to flip the “off” switch. Boundaries get fuzzy and the hours blend together until I’ve found that a whole day has gone by with me bent over my laptop or phone instead of actually engaging with the world. All right if this happens from time to time, but a bad habit overall. I ignore my body’s signals, the ones that tell me it’s time to get up and move around. I ignore my mind’s signals, the ones that tell me to step away and get a new perspective. I ignore my heart’s signals, the ones that tell me I’ve been too isolated and need some connection.

Worst, I ignore the Holy Spirit’s signals, the ones that tell me that I can’t serve Him if I don’t spend time with Him.

The classic, stereotypical issue for us all. The work becomes the driving force, the thing in which we invest our entire sense of self. We shift from “human being” to “human doing,” bound to ever-increasing productivity and chasing ever-elusive popularity.

Running at a feverish pace.

Into that, the Spirit whispers, “Stop.”

The command to keep the Sabbath was never meant to be a burden. The words – rest, quiet, holiness – came from God’s mouth as a way of showing us our limitations, reminding us to depend on Him for all of our needs (material and otherwise), and as a sign of His compassion. He knows that we can’t do it all. He knows that we are fragile and finite. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

And this Sabbath, it’s not just a day. Oh, it’s important to have a day. A whole 24-hour period set aside for worship and rest. (Doesn’t matter what day it is; let other people fight about that). As with all things involving the law, there is the letter and the spirit. On this side of the Cross, we seek to understand and apply the spirit behind the letter, and we see that Sabbath, that rest, that dependence upon God, is to permeate each day. It is an essential aspect of our faith.

A day, and more than a day.

A set of values. A way of walking through this life knowing that we are not defined by analytics. Or sales. Or whatever we are tempted to define ourselves by. We are, instead, defined by God Himself. And He says we are His children, the sheep of His pasture, the apple of His eye.

And so we rest.

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4 thoughts on “Sabbath Values

  1. Since I do a lot of my work from home, I found myself in the same position for a long time. Sometimes a full day would go by and I’d realize that I had just let the day go by without really honoring it. As you suggest, ” I ignore my body’s signals, the ones that tell me it’s time to get up and move around. I ignore my mind’s signals, the ones that tell me to step away and get a new perspective. I ignore my heart’s signals, the ones that tell me I’ve been too isolated and need some connection.” I did this too, and I am almost certain it was killing me. The idea of the Sabbath is a really powerful one and I’m glad it is something you are aware of as well.

    I finally broke down and gave myself a smart watch that will tell me if I don’t stand up for an hour. It buzzes at me and then I get up, take a short walk, and just appreciate the world. For me, just having the reminder that I should take a break has been really helpful to my work and my overall health. As a side benefit, I am actually more productive, but the real benefit is gratitude. I am more grateful and at the end of the day, that ripples out to all other areas of my life.
    This was a really great post. I hope you are able to spend some time in quiet and rest today.

    Like

  2. I also “work” at home (ha ha) and have been known to lose track of time while working on my Facebook business page. Uncle John is happily reading in the living room, oblivious to everything else around him! I also tend to ignore my mind’s “reminder” to get up, take Yoda for a walk or do something away from the computer! But what I WILL NOT do is engage in anything that seems like “work” (laundry, etc) on Sunday, which is MY day of rest. I will, however, send out prayer request via email on Sunday – gives me a chance to pray about/over what I’m sending out and why. I love how you are able to articulate what you think so well and I enjoy reading your posts so just keep ’em coming!
    Love you bunches!

    Like

    1. I’m not at all sure that we (the general “we”) have figured out how to use technology and the instant connection that comes with it properly. It just sort of carries us along. We work more, rest less and just feel so much pressure all the time. I am asking the Lord to help me see what the boundaries need to be.

      Love you back!

      Like

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