Written by Rev. Rick Hall of Hope Lutheran Church, Fresno, CA
Based on Luke 13: 10 - 17
What comes to mind when you hear sabbath? Civil unrest, indignant behavior, sin? God creates everything in 6 days and rest on the 7th day. This is the sabbath day. We are told in the 3rd commandment that we are to, “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.” This is what upsets the leaders of the synagogue, that Jesus breaks the commandment, he heals, thus works on the holy day. How dare he! Why would he heal on the sabbath? Why would he sin in such a way?
Jesus’s response is classic as he puts it back onto the accusers. He uses the example of taking care of livestock that are bound on a sabbath day. He asked them would they not help the animal? Then says that the woman he heals too is bound and he unbounds her.
Now back to my original question, What comes to mind when you hear sabbath? Remember this is a day for rest and reflection. Many nowadays do not think that this should be the case, this is outdated and surely God does not still ask this of us. But surely he does.
God built in time to rest after a week of work and so should we. As a pastor my sabbath day comes on Fridays as Sundays do not work for me. I take this time to relax, reflect and just take a breath from my week of ministry. Now, I am not the best at doing this every week, I am reminded of it because just as I am called to the ministry and not merely working another job, it is essential that I take the time so that I am healthy to serve as God has called me to.
You too need time to relax and refresh. If you are unable to take a day for this, take mini sabbaths throughout the week. It may be through devotion, focusing on God, it may be a drive with the windows down and the music up and singing to the top of your lungs, or it may be coffee with a friend. The options are endless and the best part is you get to choose.
Whatever it is, I pray that you would find rest and peace, that the Lord would bless and keep you, that you know as a precious child of God, He wants what is best for you, that includes intentional rest. May you find your moments of rest, so that your ministries may prosper and grow and others may know Christ through you.