Wednesday, 24 January 2018

And on the seventh day... We Rest!

I am in the middle of an interesting week of training at The Salvation Army's William Booth training college. I have been surrounded by some amazing colleagues who serve, like us, as Territorial Envoys, running Salvation Army churches up and down the country. This is our third year at our annual seminar and this year I have been shocked to see some gifted pastors, who in previous year had been full of passion and zeal, looking exhausted. In conversation they have admitted that amongst other things, they aren't finding time to take their day off. 

I'm am passionate about keeping the sabbath, and seeing my friends and colleagues so tired prompted me once again to consider its importance to us in a society and job that never seems to stop.

We know that God created the world in 6 days and on the 7th day he rested. Yesterday one of  our soeakers very briefly posed the question "did God really need to rest on the 7th day?" The answer of course is no, but he chose to rest, purely as an indicator for us to see how our rhythm of life should be. God modelled the behaviour that we should have, and time and time again in his word, it reminds us of the importance of Sabbath. 

Jesus was a great advocate of the sabbath as a rhythm of life. He understood the complexities of ministry, and the busyness of life. He certainly understood too that there is an ocassional time when our rest needs to be put on hold for a short while whilst we do the Lord's work. But above all he knew that rest was vitally important in mission and ministry. 

One verse in the bible I truly love, but truly challenges me says:

"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly" John 10:10 

I know when things have been particularly busy and I haven't been able to take my sabbath day  rest for a while, I have looked at my life and realised that it has ceased to be an abundant life. How can we possibly tell the lost to come follow Jesus and have an abundant life when all we ever do is 'sleep, eat, work, repeat?' As ambassadors of Christ we are called to embody an abundant life. And that includes rest! 

Any of you who follow me on social media know that I love putting up pictures, and on our day off I always try to post at least one picture that shows something of our 'rest.' Sometimes Paul (my husband) rolls his eyes at yet another picture, but I often reply: "How can we expect our flock to live an abundant rhythm of life with a healthy sabbath if we don't reflect it in our own life?" 

Some of my many pictures!!

So today - God is saying

'Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live lightly and freely.' 

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