THE DELIGHT OF SABBATH
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Romans 14:5-6a
Today, we continue to work through this concept called Sabbath. As we mentioned over the last few weeks, we are really looking to the essentials that God has given to us to grow our spiritual lives. As with the essentials of life, we all need food, water, shelter, air and sleep to be able to survive. As with our physical need for sleep, our spiritual need for rest is just as important. We need the time to truly step back and step into the power of God's plan for our lives. But we have to understand that God has provided for us a way to truly take hold of this moment with Him. We are to consider it a delight. What does delight mean when we are referring to the time that we spend with others? I know that my mom was able to go to North Carolina and see one of her cousins that she has not seen in over 30 years. When I talked to her, my mom was full of such joy. She was telling me all of the stories that they had shared. She had reminisced with her cousin about things that they did growing up. My mom literally told me that they sat down for lunch on Sunday at 1pm and did not leave the table until 5:30-6:00pm just talking, laughing and enjoying the moment. That is the definition of delight. It is the understanding that we don't look at the clock and start thinking that we have other things that we have to do. We sit in the moment and have the conversations that give us joy with the CREATOR of all things. I can be honest, this is one of the few moments since the death of my father that I have heard such joy and delight from the voice of my mom. It was healing to her soul. It was a blessing that she needed. It was because she took the time to stop her life and reconnect with the family that she had such community with all of her young life.
The same is true with us and God. I hope that for many of us that it has not been 30 years since we have experienced a connection time with God, but I am not going to lay anything to chance. Every time that I take the opportunity to step into the silence and have the conversations with God it brings such great delight. Because it is just like the time my mom
shared with her cousin. We lose track of time and just spend time in the joy and delight of God's grace and mercy. We are able to have honest and open conversations because God knows where we have been and both the struggles and joys that we encounter on a daily basis. It is at least a weekly chance to reset our mindsets and to let loose the baggage that we have picked up through the week. And at most it is a daily opportunity to refresh our hearts and minds to refocus our vision for the opportunities that God is placing right in front of our faces. The challenge is real and that is why it is so hard to find the time. Because evil is doing anything possible to stop us from finding the joy that we need to survive. Evil is trying to do everything possible to keep us in chaos and tell us that it is impossible to infuse any time with God in our daily lives. But if you can experience it once, I promise that your life will be different. I will also say that the battle for your heart, mind and time will begin to increase. Anything that brings us delight in the Lord is something that evil wants to eradicate. So to set our schedule with Sabbath as the main focal point that we will not let go of is a complete mindset change, but one that will give us more joy and delight than we could ever imagine.
So today, Paul is challenging us to recognize the fact that we need to set aside a day that is special for the Lord. I guess that it is crazy that the church really has done a poor job of helping to teach and live out this message. When we talk about Sabbath, we all know that we need one, but there are so few people who honestly take this message to heart. Sabbath is a day of rest and rejuvenation. It does not mean that you lock yourself in a closet and never come out. What it does mean is that you spend time away from the hustle and bustle of your week and spend time doing things that are an opportunity for rest and renewal. It may mean spending time with your family on a bike ride or walk. It may mean that we take the time to literally veg all day because we have had a stressful week filled with deadlines and no sleep. It may mean playing golf or taking a walk on the beach to help you breath and center your mind so that you can have some open conversations with God. I know that my daily Sabbath is turning all of the lights off in my office and just listening to Christian music and talking with God. So if you come by my office and the door is closed, lights are out and you hear music.. know that is me and God spending some time catching up and refocusing. But Paul does say it best when he writes, "Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord." If we are willing to take the time and truly meet with God as Sabbath, it is a moment that will result in blessing and delight. I am not saying that we will have a perfect day, but that we will have the opportunity to find perfect peace.
So anyone who actually reads this today, I hope and pray that you will take the time and dedicate a part of your week to a Sabbath time with God. A moment where you can catch up and see the delight that you may have missed in the chaos. I pray that you search for ways to slow down and recognize that God has such a bigger plan for our lives than the day to day hustle. He has created opportunities for great joy and renewal if we will just slow down
enough to recognize it. So, once again, Sabbath is one of the most difficult concepts that we all struggle with on a weekly basis. Start small. Start ANYWHERE and dip your toe into the serene waters of God's delight. When you test the waters, you may actually find it to be something that brings peace to your soul. It may also bring even greater peace to your household. I may be far off, but I honestly believe that one of the reasons we are seeing more anxiety and stress in our students is because they are trying to juggle their schedules to look like ours. They believe that they are supposed to be so filled with things because we, their parents are. I believe that we have caused them to see a false sense of God's plan and I hope and pray that we are not too late to recalibrate our direction and teach them the value of Sabbath. Sabbath can be a true delight when we step in and just spend the time with the ONE who has been sitting at the table waiting for us to show up. I pray peace, joy and delight on your day and I hope that today's word gives you a glimpse into the possibility of what a regular Sabbath can produce.