Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sabbath (pt 3)

Chapter 3 of Sabbath by Dan Allender investigates the issue of time and how it can be made holy. One important note brought out in this chapter is that Sabbath was given before the Fall and as a commandment to the Israelites. God takes Sabbath seriously. Why? One marvelous quote at the beginning of this chapter answers, “Sabbath is not merely an event that happens in time; it redefines the nature of time and how we are to live it.” To me that sums up why Sabbath is so important. It leads to a proper perspective on time.

To really get at what it means to practice this Sabbath keeping in a God-honoring way we must first look at what we believe about time. What are our preconceived notions about time? What does America think about time? Allender shares some stats here that aren’t too surprising when you consider how prideful we are about work in this country.
§ 1 out of 3 is chronically overworked.
§ More than half of white collar workers log more than 40 hours a week.
§ 75% of these white collar workers work on the weekends.
§ 37% of Americans take fewer than 7 days off per year.
§ Only 14% take vacation of two week or longer.
§ Americans take shortest paid vacations in the world.
§ 20% of those who do take vacations report to stay in touch with the office.

Are these stats due to faulty thinking of time? Most people think they need more time, can make more time, can steal time, and spend and use time. This chapter points out that time is actually beyond our reach and control. Sure we have watches and alarm clocks, but they don’t really control time, they just control us. Time is, “to be breathed like air.” A proper way to think of time is to look at it as a gift and to honor it. Then we can enter the Sabbath and see it as, “the day that bridges two great events in time; creation by God and the re-creation of the new heavens and earth by God.” Sabbath is a day to play. To have fun. To see something beautiful happening around you and just sit back in your recliner and watch it.

Entering into Sabbath requires three things: receiving the day, intending the day, and protecting the day. When we receive the day we prepare and anticipate her arrival. We are excited about what is to come. Intending the day means we do all the necessary preparations for our activities so we don’t have to work on the Sabbath. If we are going to eat stew we buy the ingredients the day before and put it in the crock pot to cook so we don’t have to do anything. Protecting the day means we do whatever we can to keep the day set apart as special. If we have to turn off our cell phones we turn them off. If we avoid TV we avoid TV. The point is to have a plan to make this day truly unique and different from the other six days of the week.

Any thoughts?


Nelsman said...

These are good thoughts to challenge a review of my own sabbath. I have kept Sundays as 'no work' days and yet these thoughts add a new dimension to the whole perspective regarding the day. Thanks!

Tim Sheets said...

Nelsman, hope you guys are enjoying a week or so of Sabbath down south!

This is a good book, it does challenge the notion that all we do on sabbath is sit around and read our bible. He urges us to do more, to play, and make our sabbath a truly unique and special day. I've been trying to think of ways to implement some of this info.

Still thinking.

Diann Hunt said...

Great post! A wonderful reminder of God's goodness to give us a day of play and relaxation. Thanks!