Day Four: Sabbath
Did you know that the forty days of lent do not include the Sabbath days? Typically, those are the days of worship so in our case, Sunday. We wanted to address Sabbath before the first one (tomorrow)!
Written by Gus Goggin
Without a doubt, the most impactful spiritual practice I have added to my life in the past year is taking a day of Sabbath. For years I rolled my eyes at people who suggested taking a more serious and committed approach to Sabbath because they couldn’t possibly understand how busy and hectic my life was, and I decided sabbath was a luxury afforded to people who weren’t doing enough with their lives. However, I was being stubborn and arrogant, and after a while of trying to do everything on my own power, I was starting to burn out. I knew I needed to find a way to rest.
This past year I began to take Sabbath seriously for the first time. Here are some things I’ve been reminded of or learned so far.
Sabbath is a Gift
Mark 2:23-28 is the story of Jesus and his disciples passing through some grain fields, picking heads of grain, which of course caused a kerfuffle with some Pharisees. Long story short they argue, and Jesus’ closing statements is that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath,” (v. 27). This day of rest is not a requirement for us to lord over each other. It is a gift given to us, for us, from a father who knows that we need it. It’s not just one of God’s commands to have a day of holy rest, but it’s gift to be enjoyed. A child who disobeys a command is understandable. Sometimes we rebel and make stupid decisions. But a kid who is given a good gift and refuses to accept it or enjoy it is kind of hard to empathize with. Unfortunately I think many of us are like that kid. We have looked at God’s gift of Sabbath and tossed it away.
Sabbath is Contagious
What I mean by this is that once I’ve set aside a day specifically to rest and be with God, all my other days are impacted. One day of Sabbath rest oozes into so many other areas of my life. For example, I am far far more productive 6 days a week knowing that rest is on the way than I ever was not having scheduled rest, but always looking for a break. My intentional rest has increased my ability to do good work. Also, my marriage has been blessed by the assurance that there is at least one day of the week that I will not let work creep in. Good luck getting me to do anything with you on a Thursday night because that is my time with Stephanie (my wife) and it’s heavily guarded. Spiritually I feel refreshed every week, by a day where I can stop and be with God. I don’t sit in a room all day and meditate, but it is a day of being grateful and of remembrance.
Sabbath is Not Doing Nothing
My Thursdays are not days of me doing absolutely nothing all day long. I try to not sedate myself with social media, Netflix, or just general couch potatery. That’s not true restorative rest. Sabbath is not doing nothing; it is doing something that restores your soul. My first instinct might be to veg out for the entire day, but after doing that I never feel like I truly recharged my batteries. I feel as lethargic as I did going into the day, and I still feel like I need to regain my strength. All that to say, visit a friend, go on a long walk, read a book, go to a museum, or hit the gym. Do something that fills you up. This day is a gift. Don’t squander it.
Sabbath Silences My Discontent
I recently heard a sermon blaming our “eternal inner murmur of self-reproach,” for keeping most of us away from Sabbath.There is an eternal inner murmur telling me I haven’t done enough, so I don’t deserve to rest. It tells me that I have to prove my worth, so taking a day off will cost me precious time that I should be using to prove how important I am. This voice inside of me saying I haven’t gotten enough done is often louder than God’s desire and command for me to rest. However, when I take a Sabbath I lie down in God’s assurance that I’m allowed to take a day to rest. I am reminded that God wants me to feel satisfied, and I begin to quiet my murmur of self-reproach.
Write this Way: In your notebook, make a list of five things that refresh you. Pick one that you can do this week to practice restorative rest. Enjoy the gift of Sabbath free from the ‘eteranal murmur of self reproach’.
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About the Author
Gus Goggin is the College Pastor at Commonway Church and couldn’t be more thrilled. Gus grew up on a farm just outside of New Castle, Indiana, and graduated from New Castle High School in 2012. He graduated from Ball State in 2016, but much more importantly, he married his wife, Stephanie, in the summer before his Senior year. Gus has been going to Commonway for five years and been a part of Commonway Kids, Commonway Youth, and multiple small groups. Gus and Stephanie are happy to be serving the church and college students.