Keeping Sabbath in View
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
The new year turned the corner and on a Saturday afternoon in January I had just finished taking the Christmas lights off of my house. I didn’t get around to them as early as I usually do, but they were a little late going up, too. Who knows, maybe they’ve extended the joy of the season for a few of my neighbors!
The following Monday morning, we returned to work after a two-week vacation. I remember thinking that if I was going to enjoy any final rest on Sunday, I needed to get the chores done on that Saturday!
The thing I’ve learned about a day of rest is that I enjoy it much more if I’ve taken the time to prepare for it.
The thing I’ve learned about a day of rest is that I enjoy it much more if I’ve taken the time to prepare for it. In this series, we are talking about Sabbath. Sabbath, as most Christians understand it, is a day of rest and worship. Many Christians observe Sunday as the Sabbath. Some however, due to circumstances beyond their control, set aside a different day of the week as their day of rest and worship. Whatever the day, one important but often forgotten key is found in the preparation and anticipation leading up to it.
Throughout Scripture, we see the people of God observing sacred holidays (or holy days), festivals and celebrations. We often talk of these and in some cases; we continue to celebrate them. The part we don’t seem to notice is that prior to each of those observances, God outlines for His people days and processes of preparation. He knows that for us to fully enter into His holy days the way He desires for us, we need time to prepare both physically and spiritually. In the Bible, we even see that Jesus was crucified on Preparation Day (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42).
I have found that if I have the Sabbath in view throughout my workweek, then I am more conscious of getting my work done so that I am not forced to return to it on my day of Sabbath. If we don’t want to spend our entire Sabbath in the kitchen, then we would do well to prepare our Sabbath meals the day before. We’ve even found that if we listen to worship music while we prepare for church, our hearts and minds are much more in tune with the things of God when we arrive at church.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that if we are to get to a place where we are able to complete our most important work prior to our Sabbath, then we need to work hard to determine what things are most important. All too often, we fill our days doing meaningless, or less important things and find ourselves feeling like we haven’t done what we were supposed to do. Then, our Sabbath is wrecked by worry, or worse yet, by the very work we should have done during the week. Taking my Christmas lights down a little later was OK, because it wasn’t the most crucial thing in the days before.
If you truly want to experience the Sabbath as your Heavenly Father intended, then allow Him to prepare you for it beforehand. Throughout your week, fix your eyes on Him and He will direct your steps.
Written by Major James Betts, General Secretary, Greater New York Division