Accepting my limitations is an act of worship.

Sabbath Rest

While I don’t like to admit it, I am finite. I can never work enough, worry enough, strive enough, or struggle enough to overcome my limited nature. But of course that doesn’t mean I don’t try to fight against this reality with all my might! A few more hours to finish that project, and I’ll overcome my anxiety. Some more late nights will get me to a point where I can finally rest. And what happens? Anxiety skyrockets. Rest remains ever elusive—tantalizingly just out of reach.

When will I learn?

I mean, honestly, how many times has this actually worked for me? None.

Yet how many times do I keep trying? Too many to count!

Six years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to visit Israel with a group from our church. During the ten day trip, we experienced only one weekend, but it had a profound impact on my understanding of Sabbath. Our group stayed at the David Dead Sea Hotel where I saw a different picture of Sabbath rest than I had ever before—a picture of simplicity, rest and relationship in all their glory.

Jewish families gathered in the expansive hotel lobby. They shared food, stories, songs and laughter throughout the day, and long past the twilight hours. And it hit me. I had been viewing Sabbath all my life as a burden. Something I had to do to fulfill God’s rules for my life. And yet this picture provided me with a profound shift in perspective. Taking time to rest led to joy, refreshment, relational connection, and renewal.

I saw a picture that day of Sabbath as delight, rather than duty.

I find it difficult to express the impact of that day. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? And yet, if it’s so simple, why do I so often flee from Sabbath rest on a regular basis?

Resting from work on the Sabbath is a way of giving up control and the idea that we gain in life only by working hard. 1

There it is. Giving up control. Ugh, the last thing I want to do is give up control! And yet when I respond this way, I actually miss out on a profound freedom that awaits me. I can try to fight it, but my existence bears the marks of design. My Creator fine-tuned me to float along a current—an ebb and flow between work, then rest, then work, then rest.

If I’m completely honest, it is exhausting to keep swimming against that current.

Then he told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” 2

When I give up control, I receive Sabbath as a gift. I embrace the fact that I am not the ultimate authority. And whenever I place myself under authority, it is an act of worship.

I want what those Jewish families experienced that Sabbath day 6 years ago in Israel. I want to dive deep into the relationship, renewal, and refreshment that God has offered me. I want to relinquish control to his authority as an act of worship and receive his gift of Sabbath.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. 3

Lord, make me a living sacrifice to you. I place myself on the altar that I might find rest in relinquishing control and trusting your provision and authority. Father, be my Sabbath rest, that I would find everything I need in you alone.

Notes


1: Tremper Longman III, Immanuel In Our Place, p. 170 (emphasis mine)

2: Mark 2:27 (CSB)

3: Romans 12:1 (CSB)

 


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