Week 22 Monday

Sabbath

Today’s scripture selection: Exodus 33-36

Key verse: Exodus 35:2

     Our world values action.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  There is important work to be done.  Needs are met; creative pursuits are undertaken; the world is made a better place.

     But there is also a place for rest – a place for what the bible calls “Sabbath.”

     When God instructed Moses on the way to lead His people through their time in the wilderness – God spoke about work – and rest.

     “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of Sabbath rest to the Lord.”

     Now, it seems that when some people start meddling with a good thing, it turns into something burdensome.  That happened with God’s people.  Over a long period God’s instruction to honor the Sabbath became a tedious set of rules and regulations.  Worse, those laws became a way for some to self-righteously judge others.  It became such a problem that by the time Jesus came along He had to remind the people that “the Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath.”  Most important, He reminded them that there was never a day when it was wrong to show kindness or mercy to others – even if that meant “working” on the Sabbath.

     Somewhere along the line – people became confused about when to work and when to rest.

     It seems to me that it all has to do with balance.

     We must never make work – or Sabbath rest – a “rule” that can never be broken.  God doesn’t want legalists – He wants faithful children.

     So, work when it’s time to work – especially when your work helps others.  And, when it’s time to rest – to find a much needed Sabbath – take it and enjoy it – just as God has ordained it.

Everything will get done – in due time.  It may be that what you need to do today, more than anything, is spend a little “downtime” with God.

Prayer: Lord, strengthen me to do your work, and give me the inner peace to enjoy Sabbath with you, all in perfect balance.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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