Keeping the Sabbath – Part One

In Exodus 20 our Heavenly Father listed His Ten Commandments – commands that, when followed, lead to healthy disciples – people who have healthy relationships with God and with other people. These were boundaries that the Creator God placed before us because He loves us so much and wants only the best for us. In fact, many years ago I began to refer to The Ten Commandments as The Ten(der) Commandments because they were given out of love for His people.

Of course, as disciples of The Lord, we are to keep these commands. In spite of all the teachings floating around about grace in the Church today these commandments are still part of the life and liberty of the Christian today. Jesus did not come to do away with the Ten Commandments – He came to fulfill them. And, in fact, He raised the bar when it came to these commandments. Those of us living under grace live by a higher standard. The old was “you shall not commit murder;” Jesus raised the bar on that one by telling us:”If you have hated someone in your heart you have already committed murder. So, the New Testament application of The Ten Commandments reaches a new level of commitment and obedience.

Now, here’s the problem. Most disciples that I know run full out 24/7. In fact, we seem proud of the fact that we are really busy, very active, terrifically involved, and have no time left to give to anything, thank you! In other words, we live without margin – emotional margin to name just one. So, we live on the edge of burnout, are not enjoying life, and always seem to be striving and never reaching that place where we think we will find happiness.

The problem – we are breaking one of The Ten Commandments – the one about the Sabbath. Those in leadership break this commandment, the people of God break this commandment… and, as a result, live life as it was never meant to be lived – in the fast lane. It is time to live 24/6 and begin to obey the Lord God’s 4th Commandment.

I have been on a personal learning curve when it comes to keeping the Sabbath. I can’t tell you I have it all figured out or nailed down. However, I am on a journey and it is taking me places I have never been before. Like most Christian leaders I was (and, in some ways, still am) too busy, working too many hours, emotionally and physically tired and expecting things to slow down once I could get over “one more project” or “the next hill.” But, this denies the core issue that needs to be dealt with – our obedience to the 4th Commandment. The question is not “how do you slow down the 75 hour work week to have a Sabbath.” The question is: “Are you practicing and enjoying Sabbath as a core spiritual formation discipline?”

Let’s look at this important area again next time…

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