And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:24-26
In today’s scripture Jesus accomplished more when he was resting than the disciples did while they were desperately rowing and bailing water. Jesus wasn’t being lazy when He was sleeping. He simply knew that the Father would help Him to do all He need to do at just the right time, but only if He rested! As we rest, it teaches us to depend more fully on Jesus. Just like the stillness that Jesus brought to the sea by His word, as we rest, our racing thoughts calm to a hush and in that quietness we can begin to hear God’s still small voice. Keeping Sabbath is a step of faith with our time, in the same way that giving our tithe is a step of faith with our finances. With our tithe we give the first and best of our financial resources, trusting that God will multiply the rest to meet our needs. We need to remind ourselves that keeping a Sabbath is not just observing some law, but a spiritual recognition that the first and best of part our time is better in God’s hands, than a whole week in ours. As believers in Jesus Christ we don’t “have to” legalistically rest on Sunday. Instead, we discover that we have the privilege at least once a week to find our rest in Him. One day we will finish with all of the work of our life. On that day we will enter into the greatest Sabbath of all as we find our wonderful and complete rest in the presence of Jesus forever and all our work will remain behind!
Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Isaiah 58:14 ESV
It is a precious part of our inheritance as Christians, to pass on to our children the blessings of Sabbath. So, we need to be careful not to spend their inheritance on ourselves. Instead of endless busy days, God has a plan for rest and refreshment. When we come to the end of our lives will our children and grandchildren have special memories of Sundays that we have spent with them? So, if we want to have a something to pass on, we must put in a reservation.
Think of it like going to a fine restaurant. You cannot just walk in any time you wish and expect to find a table. If you do not call ahead and get your reservation, then chances are pretty good that someone else will already be seated instead of you. It is the same with the Sabbath. Everyone wants our time. If they think it is okay to take it on Sundays, then they will not hesitate to ask. My wife taught me a great lesson when we were running a business together. If you were one of those who decided that Sunday afternoon was a convenient time to call us, you would have heard her say, “You’ve got six other days to talk to my husband about work. This is our day for God and our family. Thank you and have a wonderful day!” Things that are rare have great value and you will begin to realize just how valuable that day is when you reserve it for God!
In this busy angry confused world I sometimes wonder: whatever happened to Sunday. I fondly remember walks I took with my Grandfather early on Sunday mornings. He would hold my small hand as we walked the two blocks from his house to pick up his paper at the drug store which in those times was the only establishment open on Sundays.
It was always such an amazingly quiet morning with hardly a car passing even on Main Street. Even though I was so small I felt a wonderful sense of awe in that quiet pause between Saturday and Monday. It felt strangely comforting to know that no one’s affairs were so urgent that they couldn’t be put on hold for a day. Usually after church my grandmother would make us a lunch of pancakes and sausage followed by a whole afternoon of doing nothing but playing in the back yard with my cousins. The Bible talks about the Sabbath but I am afraid that today even within the church we have forgotten it.
Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Isaiah 58:13
Today in most states in the U.S. there is a chain of convenience stores called 7/11. The store was so named because it used to be open from 7 AM to 11 PM. But, today those stores are open 24/7 and 365 days per year. The 23rd Psalm tells us why God gives us rest, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” In the beginning God didn’t rest on the seventh day because He was tired. No! God rested to paint us a picture of His restoring grace!
It was as if when God finished creating the world He just took time to enjoy it and then He blessed the Sabbath and made it holy. God rested because He was finished and spending time resting with us was the most important thing He could do. But according to the world’s way of thinking all that matters is work – work – work. But God heart is all about quiet delight, and rest. We all need that moment when like the dove that Noah sent out from the ark, we also find a place to rest. Only then will we will be able to carry in our hearts the Olive branch of God’s peace and find again what happened to Sunday!