Wednesday, March 03, 2010


One of the books on my Shelfari I’ve been working my way through is Sabbath by Dan Allender (part of the Ancient Practices Series by Thomas Nelson Publishers). I picked this book up for next to nothing on vacation last week in TN. I'm glad I found it. This series focuses on learning and applying seven spiritual disciplines. This particular book is on the discipline of Sabbath.

Chapter 1 (Highlights)
Here are some thoughts and reflection from the first chapter.

Chapter 1 examines why we don’t Sabbath. So, why don’t we? For one, we live in a culture that takes great pride in work. Those who work hardest are most respected. We are proud to work 14-16 hours a day. Pride is actually what leads to this unhealthy work ethic. Even more dangerous is that this newly-developed pride can lead us to start thinking we can control time and do what others cannot or have failed to do. This thinking keeps us going and going and going. Dan Allender’s main reason for why people don’t practice Sabbath is that they struggle to believe that God wants them to have a day where they just sit around and bask in the pure delight, wonder, and joy that is all around them. This seems like a waste of time to most people.
Another aspect touched upon in chapter 1 is defining what Sabbath is. Sabbath is more than rest because we are tired because God rested on the seventh day and He doesn’t get tired. Good point. Something I never really took into consideration when reading that passage in Genesis. So, if it’s not just rest because we are tire, what is it? Allender believes on the seventh day, “God celebrated and delighted in his creation.” A good illustration of what this rest is like is given in the paragraph that follows. Allender uses pregnancy and the time after the birth to describe what God’s rest on the seventh day was like. First mom and dad wait patiently while the baby is being formed in mom. Then, one day the baby is born and becomes a separate and distinct thing. It’s a new life. We can see her. We can touch her. Now mom and dad begin bonding with this new life they have created and a fellowship begins among them that could last for eternity. Maybe God’s rest on the seventh day is like this. It’s the point in time where He begins building the relationship with His creation and enjoying His work. It had to be beautiful (still is, but sin has tainted things from what they used to be). He sees what has only been an idea in His head take shape and form and become reality.

Some questions I’m thinking about are:
- How hard is it for me to break and Sabbath from work?
- How do I define Sabbath?
- How do you define Sabbath?
- How do I celebrate Sabbath?
- Is there anything I can improve upon with this discipline?
- How do you celebrate Sabbath? Do you?


Jay said...

Sounds like a great book. We take so much pride in being "busy." People ask us how we are doing..."busy." It is almost like a badge of honor.

Is it just Americans that think we are measured only by what we accomplish, or is it that way in other cultures, too?

Tim Sheets said...

I'm sure our culture is not alone in this struggle of being busy.

When I went to the Dominican Republic a decade ago I (along with others on the trip) were surprised at how slow things moved in that culture. We Americans who went on this trip were down there to do work and get somthing done, but sometimes it seemed the locals were not concerned or that it wasn't that big of a deal to them. They even had a couple hours each day where everything shut down for a siesta (rest/nap) time. Down there the culture and mindset about work seemed to be different than what we were used to.

Jay said...

I like the idea of a daily siesta time...haha. How can we get that started here?

I think a strong work ethic is super-important, but I guess we cross a line when taking the Sabbath to rest feels "unproductive" to us.

Tim Sheets said...

I find it amazing that God just rested and took a whole day to just take in and enjoy His creation and then commanded us to do the same.

That's an awesome God!