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Sabbath Rest



Written by Hugh Barney

Written by Hugh Barney

I am not good at practising Sabbath. I know what I should do, but doing it is another matter. Any insights I have on this subject come from years of failure and even today I am wrestling with this matter.

The times in my life when I have felt the most pressure and lost the plot have all been down to lack of Sabbath in my life.

I am not truly who I am, if I am not practising some form of Sabbath on a regular basis. I become driven, impatient, easily angered, obsessed, stressed, full of cares and this does not glorify God.

We all carry burdens and letting them go can be hard but bringing them to God is a practice that Jesus gently recognizes and encourages us in Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.”

Jesus is our rest and Jesus says come.

Sure it would be great to have a whole day devoted to Sabbath like the Jews do. But this can be very hard to organise and negotiate. Every member of the family needs to buy into it and that is often not possible. Some of us work shifts or different days to other family members.

We will naturally feel guilty if we have been busy and have not come to him for a while; but the good news is that there no entry point other than turning our heads to face Jesus and forcing ourselves to STOP for a while. This can take many forms.

A concept that has helped me a lot is what I call ‘micro Sabbath’. These often occur for me when I am taking lunch and walking through town or on the London underground. I hear a busker playing music and I recognise the song. If the busker is any good, I pause and listen deeply for a while, it may only be 60 seconds, but in that moment I have stopped and realised I don’t have to rush everywhere. I realise again that work is just a means to an end and that there is a better song being played in the silence if only I will make time to hear it. I have learnt to my cost that skipping lunch because I have got too much to do ends in disaster. After a couple of days I could punch someone. So for me, taking at least 30 minutes for lunch in the working day is a Sabbath practice. I walk out the building go to the shop, look at the people walking the street, check if the sun is shining or not, let anything catch my eye.

Little and often is probably better than feast and famine. It can take a long time to unwind if we have let things slide, so be conscious that STOPPING the first time for a while might take longer and might not feel that refreshing. It might just be that you feel how truly tired you are. If that is the case then Jesus is standing there with open arms.

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By Editor