Have you ever had a large project staring you in the face and you simply wonder how to get going?
I believe most people find this scenario to be true at some point (or many points) in their lives. But as the old saying goes, “you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” So basically, you just need to find a place to start and start.
Now, people like Stephen Covey will tell you that it is best to begin with the end in mind. And I am all for that. In fact, I have done that, and am doing that with this project of seeking Sabbath. Over the past two weeks, I have laid out the WHY, and a little of the WHAT, so now I am proceeding to the HOW? (For the previous post of this series, click here and here.)
So, we can begin with the end in mind. And we can eat the elephant one bite at a time. But where do we start eating on the elephant? Well, I don’t know the best answer for that!
But I do know the words of another wise person who gave a pretty good rationale which will work for me (and us) in this journey. The words were introduced to us by Julie Andrews while playing Fraulein Maria in the movie The Sound of Music. The words were simply:
“Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you read, you begin with A-B-C. When you sing, you begin with Do-Re-Mi.”
And when you read the Bible, you begin in Genesis (which means “origins” or “beginnings”).
In Genesis 1, God created everything. Genesis 2 begins this way:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (2) And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. (3) So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
So, from the very beginning of the Bible, we see the Sabbath – its origin and its purpose. And then we find Sabbath mentioned more than 40 times throughout the first five books of the Bible (the Torah), serving as a constant reminder from God to His people that they needed rest.*
*A selection of verses from each book in the Torah would include: Exodus 20.8; Leviticus 23.3; Numbers 28.9-10; Deuteronomy 5.12, 14-15.
Now, I realize that these passages are in the Old Testament and the law was fulfilled by Jesus. I also realize that misinterpretations (or mis-applications) by the Jews of Jesus’ day had people concerned about doing anything on the Sabbath. But notice in Numbers 28.9-10, the command includes making an offering. To make an offering is to do something. The doing is not work per se, but it is performing some function.
Furthermore, as I mentioned in a previous post, Jesus healed repeatedly on the Sabbath. And His statement in Mark 3 challenged the religious leaders of the day because what He was doing was good – although, it technically was work.
And in the middle of two distinct mentions of work on the Sabbath, Jesus makes it clear that man is not to be a slave to the Sabbath. Indeed, as Jesus said, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2.27).
Thus, we can see that from the beginning of Scripture, God instilled the Sabbath. And from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus confirmed the purpose of the Sabbath.
In both cases, the idea is rest.
The Sabbath is about the rest we desire. The Sabbath is about the rest we need.
Sabbath is not some ancient out-of-date tradition – at least, not when properly understood. That has been a part of my challenge. I have not properly understood Sabbath.
Although I have not dismissed Sabbath as an Old Testament only idea (at least, not entirely), I have not valued the idea of rest. But as I have become busier, and older, I realize the value of rest more than ever.
And Sabbath brings that rest. No, Sabbath is that rest.
In order to live fotonni, I must think differently from the world. We all must do so.
But we must also start somewhere. So, having taken Fraulein Maria’s advice of starting “at the very beginning,” we are now ready to move forward and determine what God would have me (us) do related to the rest God has designed…the rest we need…the rest we deeply desire.
Again, I welcome you along for this journey over the next few months. Even if you do not need a day of rest each week, most everyone needs some sort of regular rest (beyond sleep, although that is important too!).
If you could use a day of rest or even if you are simply interested in the process of discovering what REST could be, I encourage you to follow my journey and invite others to do the same.