What was the first thing you did when you got up this morning? Before your morning tinkle … what did you do? Well if you are anything like me, you’ll have checked your phone for messages, emails, tweets, Facebook IMs etc etc … and, if you are anything like me, you’ll have checked your phone a couple of times during the night (and been up for a tinkle … I’m getting to *that* age if not there already).
I guess I want to lead a connected life too. I enjoy what being connected gives me: the sense of participation … the joy of discovery … the thrill of something new.
This isn’t just social media. I have sites I visit … places to go, people to see … that kind of thing. Approximately 80% of the music I listen to now … and I listen to a lot of music … is downloaded from sites like Bandcamp or from Netlabels. I need to keep current … it’s part of who I am.
It is, then, in this context that I consider the fifth commandment…
“Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.” (Exodus 20: 8-10 – Good News Translation)
I need to disconnect. I need to set aside a day each week so that I can rest in the Lord. I have spoken previously about this but have failed to implement any of my ideas … but then maybe this has something to do with what I consider rest.
Rest is a wonderful thing. We all need to recharge our batteries. When I think of rest, my thoughts initially turn to lying by the pool in Italy with my Kindle and my iPod … or an afternoon nap on my trusted leather sofa with the delightful sounds of Cousin Silas’ “Dronescape 002” tickling my ears.
Don’t get me wrong, these examples show how great rest is but rest is far more than the absence of activity, it is an action in and of itself.
- Rest is walking in the park with your family and your dog.
- Rest is reading a book in your favourite coffeeshop.
- Rest is being surrounded by your church community … praising God and loving one another.
- Rest is that long run … the one you can’t fit in during the week.
Rest is, in essence, that special *whatever* that brings you joy and a sense of wellbeing. Our batteries are charged differently … and what works for someone may be awfully distracting for someone else.
The key is, however, to do whatever it is you do and dedicate your time doing it to the Lord. Our actions should be honouring to the Lord at all times, but especially when we observe Sabbath.
Sabbath is a gift from God. It is His reward to us for our effort through the week. It is His way of treating us, His children, to something nice. It should never be seen as a negative thing but as the most positive of positive things … a day to spoil ourselves with whatever is positive, holy, uplifting and encouraging … in His name.
Dan Allender in his book “Sabbath” (part of the Ancient Practices series) explains this further. He asserts that the Sabbath is not and should not be considered solely as a ‘day off’ but should be reframed as a day of delight … a day when the Kingdom to come is actually here and now … a day when we can celebrate God’s Kingdom as something alive and real rather than as a far away abstract.
Sabbath should not be used as a prohibition. Yes, it is a commandment but I still believe the Wee Frees up in the Isles have gotten it wrong, in my humble opinion. It should not be about what we are stopped from doing but should be all about doing something that delights us … and, more importantly, something that delights God.
We should be so busy celebrating all the wonder that God is and brings to us that we don’t look at our phones or even need to look to our phones or other devices. Imagine just checking into ‘the Kingdom of God is here’ on foursquare … then disconnecting, putting our phones away and resting in God’s presence … our needs met in Him for that day.
So let’s all look forward to our Sabbath … in whatever way, on whatever day, you celebrate it … and bring the focus back to Him and all the blessings He has given us.