Sunday, July 10, 2011


Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

Keep the Sabbtah day holy. This is the third commandment, and is in line with, love God with all your might, mind and strength. Out of all my new year's resolutions, this has been one of the more difficult to keep. Yet, it is actually one of the easiest to master. You can clearly see if you have lived it or not. It's a day of rest, a day you make time for the Lord and for connecting with loved ones and visiting the sick. You can enjoy nature and reflect on the Word. In short, you breathe and see the miracle of life around you.

Of course, if your profession has you working to serve the sick or conversely if your life circumstance has you being served because you are sick, then your day of rest is either a day of service or receiving the healing offered. I suppose if you could serve in your health care profession on the sabbath without pay, then it would be holier.
However, for the vast majority of us, we do not HAVE to work or cause someone to work on the Sabbath.

It's simple really, you do your work, chores and shopping on the other days and you embrace the down time. I did it for awhile this year. What side tracked me was wanting to please other people and myself by following my own will and priorities. Soon my rationalization led to breaking the habit and ironically I felt uneasy, less peaceful.

Today, I begin anew. Knowing that God's guidelines are meant for our good. He designed us to love, serve and honor him precisely because that is what makes us joyful, complete and whole. We came from Him and to mirror Him is the truth of who we are.

Discipline is the ability to say yes and stick to your commitment even when it is difficult and knowing when to say no. It takes practice, devotion and openness to God. It takes humility and courage to let God be your guide. It takes humility and courage to know when you have lost your way and to turn back.

I must be free in my own will to obey and love. So first I must be free from the impulses that ensnare me to serve myself first. Then, I am free from the yo yo of reacting with anything but love. In short, I must be free from only seeing the fear of losing my pride, my money or security and my life.

The antitheis to obeying God is rebellion. Rebeling against God and others is anything but freedom and can lead to a tortured way of living. I find that my practice of discipline either inspires others or it threatens them. For the latter who rebel, all I can do is pray.

Yet, the focus must remain on my own relationship with God and others. How do I open to God and the many blessings He has in store for me? How do I open to God and serve him through others? And the most challenging for me, how do I put the needs of others before myself?

At times, however infrequent, if the true motivation is Love and honoring God's will, it is reproving one another that is required, and this too takes courage. For me it takes courage especially in close relationships. For sometimes I leave things unsaid. It takes a special grace to know when to speak and when to remain silent. If both always remain silent eventually this creates permanent silence in the relationship.

However, more often I don't exercise this principle consistently because I am constantly afraid this will mean I will be taken advantage of. I also find this concern in others as well. Yet, I find when I exercise this principle that I feel joyful and at peace.
The lack of faith that love is its own reward, and the desire to attach expectations is what is at the root of not putting others before yourself. Love is it's own reward, giving is it's own reward.

The blessing God has in store for me is beyond what I can expect, and perhaps not as immediately as I would like. And so, I exercise my faith this Sabbath day, knowing that by focusing on God (love) I will be filled with what is required to live out His will uniquely. So here I pray that I, and all of us, might be sanctified by honoring our Lord's command to keep the sabbath day holy.