One thing that many of us have learned to do with some kinds of electronics is to hit the reset button. Older computers used to have a special button called the reset button that you would press when things weren’t working as well as they should. (Some of you may remember how annoying it was when a small child or a mischievous sibling would press the reset button while you were working on something and you would lose all your work.) Today this same function can be performed on many appliances by unplugging them, counting to ten and then plugging them back in again. (We have a microwave that shuts itself down and takes a rest when it has had enough. Also, very annoying.)
Contrary to the expectations placed on us by an always-going, always-on world, human beings were designed to reset on a regular basis. When we go against our original design and fail to do that, things don’t go very well.
God tells us in Exodus 20:8-10a and Deuteronomy 5:12-14a, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work,…”
I find it interesting that God gives us two different reasons for taking a Sabbath. Speaking to newly freed slaves in Exodus 20, God says, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (v. 11) In Deuteronomy 5, when He addresses the children and grandchildren of those slaves who are about to enter the Promised Land, God says, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” (v. 15) Motivated by love, God used his power and might to redeem us from the constant striving that enslaves us and to create a Sabbath rest for us. And the Sabbath rest was meant to be a life-giving gift from God to us. As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27 NLT)
I think that Walnut Grove Lutheran Church needs a Sabbath rest, not only in our life together as a community of faith, but also in our personal lives. Therefore, I am inviting you to take some time off this summer to think, pray, read God’s Word, and reflect. Let’s be intentional about taking time to listen to Jesus and hear what He is saying to us. Let’s share what He is saying to us with others. When we hear that Jesus is saying the same thing to different people, that is something to pay attention to for it may be direction from Jesus for us all.
And when we resume our fall activities and programs, let us pray and listen first before we act. It is time to stop having activity for the sake of activity and start resting until God directs us to move. May our pattern be to join Jesus in what He is doing instead of asking Him to join us in what we are doing. After all, He is God and we are not.