The Upper Room devotional reflection for Sunday, July 3, 2022 comes to us from Milan P. Winters of Florida.
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping 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. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11 NIV
“A Complete Stop”
As we were driving one day, my wife reminded me that a stop sign means stop, not slow down. God’s sabbath also asks us to stop and cease all work. Just like my driving skills, I am good at slowing down for the sabbath. But I am not great at completely stopping when it comes to daily and weekly tasks. Sometimes I consider slowing down for sabbath as good enough or meeting the basic requirements. Yet that is not what God instructs us to do.
God designed the sabbath and invites us to rest because God loves us. It is a gift to restore our mind, body, and entire being. It also reminds us that life is about more than completing tasks. Sometimes the sabbath feels counterintuitive because we think that stopping keeps us from being. But rest helps us avoid burnout, have sharper minds, and complete, to the best of our ability, the tasks God gives us.
I have mentioned before here one of my favorite lessons about faith and life: a quote from Bishop Linda Lee. “Remember … Sabbath, it’s a commandment, not a suggestion.”
Milan P. Winters adds another dimension to that commandment. We are called to stop, not just slow down. For me, that doesn't mean stop doing everything, because sitting idle is not restful for me. I have to stop working in my profession and stop doing chores or tasks, especially around the house. I have to sit down with a novel, or crochet and knit, or go for a walk, or go work out at the Y, or meet with friends and/or family for a meal.
I have begun to understand that Sabbath rest is different for everyone. Some people need to sit still, some need to exercise, some need to create hobbies, etc. So, the commandment for sabbath requires us to make routine time and space to do whatever brings us rest. I invite you to consider what brings you rest, and plan specific times when you will take time for that rest in order to follow one of God’s commandments.
God of rest, thank you for your healing sabbath. Help us to remember to stop in the midst of our busyness in order to renew our perspective and strength in you. Amen.
--Milan P. Winters
Those who feel they cannot stop to rest.
Thought for the Day:
Sabbath rest is a gift from God.
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God’ for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9-10 (NIV)