I did not know how incredible it would be to be a grandparent. The other day I stopped what I was doing to give my full attention to Elise. She was watching a video of herself when she was just beginning to walk and talk on Lisa’s phone. She would watch it and then she has this special way of taking her little finger to touch the white arrow to play it all over again. Each time she watched it her facial expression was different. The first time her she had a serious look. The next time a smile would come over her face and the next time she would throw her head back and laugh.
Then there is Charley. He has this little laugh that is contagious. He actually thinks he is funny. Actually, he really is funny.
Hang with me a second and I will come back to this. First, I have a few questions to ask. As believers, do we really know how to rest? Do we really know how to take a Sabbath? Do we even know what a Sabbath looks like?
I recently read a book by Peter Scazzero that talked about the Sabbath. It made a distinction between a secular Sabbath which consists of physical rest and a Biblical Sabbath. It gave four elements of a Biblical Sabbath. I”m going to tweak these down to three elements. I hope this will help us because I’m not sure as believers we know how to rest well.
STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING
The first thing to do is stop whatever you are doing. Stop thinking! Stop planning! Stop cleaning! Stop working! Stop doing your “to do” list. Stop grocery shopping. Stop watching tv. Stop cooking! Stop folding the clothes! Stop shopping for groceries! Stop, stop, stop whatever you are doing!
I believe this is what we see God doing in the book of Genesis. God sets out creating the earth and on day three it says that He saw that it was good. Then He created some more and on day four He saw that it was good. And after He finished creating everything He looked and saw that it was VERY good! God was delighting!
That’s what I have found myself doing with my grandkids. I find myself stopping what I am doing and delighting as I watch simple expressions on Elise’s face or listen to a joyful chuckle from Charley.
I find myself watching Lisa from a distance without her knowing it.
I find myself after cutting and trimming the yard and delighting how wonderful it looks. I’ll even get in my truck, ride down to the other end of the neighborhood just to drive by slowly and look at my yard. I wonder if this is how God felt when he was in the garden.
I will even stop in the grocery store and observe people.
I am attempting in my own life to do more delighting. I believe delighting should become a discipline. The discipline of delighting.
GO FROM DELIGHTING TO CONTEMPLATION
Contemplation is the final and key element of a Biblical Sabbath. Thinking about the love of God. Thinking of the times you experienced God’s goodness. Taking a scripture and just thinking about what it really means.
Last week I began meditating on Psalm 91. I didn’t get past the first verse.
“He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty!”
In order to dwell in the secret place I have to be intentional. Intentional about solitude and silence. Solitude means the practice of pulling away from people and things. Silence is the practice of quieting the inner and outer voices. God speaks to us in silence.
STOP | DELIGHT | CONTEMPLATION
These are key elements to a Biblical Sabbath. I have been on a quest for the last two months to be more disciplined in this area. I’m not talking about once-a-week Sabbath. I’m talking about mini-Sabbaths. I’m talking about finding several times through the course of my day to stop, delight and contemplate. It only takes 10 minutes or even as little as 5 minutes.
Freedom Church is not having a service today. We have chosen to give our Dream Teams a well-deserved summer break. A Sabbath!
I encourage you to make today a true Biblical Sabbath. Yes, take a secular rest for your physical body! There is nothing wrong with that, but more than anything I encourage you to take a Biblical Sabbath. In fact, I encourage you to take the challenge of developing a discipline of Sabbath everyday.
I have found this to be extremely challenging. Old habits are difficult to break and new habits are difficult to begin.
Here is what is happening to me by developing this discipline.
– I find myself longing to spend time with God throughout my day. (mini-Sabbaths)
– I find myself beginning to be more peaceful even in intense situations.
This is something that doesn’t happen in a couple of months. I realize I have such a long way to go. I’ve been fairly consistent in the morning when I get up and at night before I fall asleep. Some days are better than others. I can’t tell you how many times my mind wonders away from giving my full attention to God. Overall I realize this is going to take years not weeks or months.
I hope this has helped you to understand the elements of a true Biblical Sabbath. Let’s begin this journey together as we develop the discipline of giving our full attention to God “mini” times each day.
Stop just for 5 or 10 minutes and give your full attention to God!