8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Rest is vital for us all. No matter how much we try to push our bodies, minds, or souls, eventually they wear down and cry out of us to cease, STOP. We pop down in the chair after mowing the lawn or we collapse into bed at night. And after minutes or hours, we will ourselves to get up and start over again.
Sabbath is different the rest. Sabbath is a pattern God established. And it is a pattern that was established before the giving of the Commandments on Mount Sinai. It actually began right after the People of God crossed over the Red Sea, in those first few moments when they could taste freedom in the air. The first thing the People of God did as they started off on wandering in the wilderness... was complain about bread! And so, God sends "manna" (a Hebrew word that means, what in the word is this??) And along with this bread-oatmeal like sweet substance that has all the nutritional value of Frosted Flake! God also sent a intentional directions: 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.”
In those first few days of wandering, God already wanted people to understand that Sabbath, intentional resting for the sake of resting is vital. It is vital to stop and realize what is around us. To cease from the frenzied pace that causes life to be a blur. To just be and realize that the world will go on without us. For the People of God in the wilderness in the book of Exodus, Sabbath was also a complete reversal from life in Egypt. In Egypt, Pharaoh made the people work and work; making brick after brick; toiling day after day; and it was never enough. Pharaoh's brick making policy was never stop, never quit, and never rest.
God's life policy is stop, quit, rest, because God is God and you are not. So many people today wake up every morning already feeling behind in what they want to accomplish. We rush around. Sabbath says, enough! Trust that we have enough food for this day. Trust that we have enough money for this day. Trust that you are enough for this day. Perhaps that last sentence is the most vital part of Sabbath practice. YOU are enough for this day, without the reports you produce or the items you check off your to-do list. You are ENOUGH for this day because you are made in the image of God. You are enough for THIS DAY, because this day is holy, wholly set apart to be different. Because only when we observe, practice a different way once a week, will the rest of the week gain some perspective and balance.
Suddenly we see that it is not just about a day, it is about every day. Soon we realize that we have enough when we sit down for dinner on Wednesday. Soon we realize that we have enough when browsing through Best Buy. Soon we realize we have enough when we laugh with friends or share a cup of coffee with someone who is hurting. That is the practice of Sabbath. And you don't need to read countless books or get an advanced degree ~ you just need to live this way...starting today.
May you sense traces of God's grace as all of us realize we have/are enough.