By Commissioner Colleen Riley
Rest? Who has time for rest? It seems like we have a go go go world, with a do-do-do mentality and are labeled lazy if we take any time for rest each week. Or maybe that is all in our minds. God specifically tells us to take a sabbath day and rest. And who is the best example of that, God himself. On the seventh day, he rested. Not only did he rest, but he also blessed that day and made it holy.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10.
I remember as a young girl that Sundays, Sabbath Days, were truly Sabbath days. While Mom and Dad had a lot to do at the corps, the in between was rest. We didn’t go to a restaurant. We didn’t shop at the stores, and outside of the ministry at church, we came away from things that could distract us from being focused on God. We came home, had a meal together and found time to connect as a family, share and yes, take an afternoon nap.
If this is not something that we practice regularly, what does Sabbath rest even look like? There are many ways we can observe Sabbath. For the Christian, we gather for worship with fellow believers and praise the Lord through songs, scripture and teaching. There are other ways such as prayer, solitude, journaling, reading and reflection, so many different ways to connect with the Lord.
If this is new, at least the deep, reflection and awareness that we are to truly take sabbath, then where do we begin? I would suggest prayer be your starting point. Find a place where you are not distracted by the world, set your phone and any other electronics aside, and sit and be still in the presence of the Lord. You don’t always have to speak, begin by listening. And find yourself in conversation with God. You may only have questions when you first start. That’s ok, ask Him, He is listening. There may be some days you don’t have any words at all, that is ok too. I believe in those moments God wants to speak to our hearts. As you do this more and more often, you will find that the time goes quickly and that there is never enough time to sit and be still and listen to the still small voice of God speaking to you. Sabbath.
Some of you may know that I love the ocean. Walking along the beach and listening to the waves brings me peace. Where is that for you? Perhaps it will be in the tall trees of the forest, or the garden full of blooming flowers. And for some it may be in your prayer closet. Wherever that may be for you, find it, make it a regular practice. Step away and find solitude with God. Sabbath.
If I asked for hands to be raised for our writers out there, I know there are several. Journaling may be for you. I personally have struggled to keep consistent in putting my thoughts down on paper. It rolls around in my mind but putting pen to paper has been something I have tried off and on for years. Journaling can be a wonderful way to put your prayers and concerns down for you to go back to and to see where God has been blessing.
Recently, my Mom was promoted to Glory. I have always known that she has lists of prayers that she kept in her bibles, next to her bed, where she did her devotions, etc. In going through her things, I found some of them. Our family was always on each list, with our names, the specific prayer and the date that they were answered. My heart was so full reading these. I knew this was how she prayed, but to see it on paper made my heart leap for joy. Perhaps God is calling you to write things down, to put it in pen the thoughts of your heart and the prayers of the people God has entrusted you with. You can find rest and solace in this. Sabbath.
Whatever way you feel God is calling you to Sabbath with him, do it. Lean into His presence and find true rest in God alone.
“Truly my soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.” Psalm 62:1
I pray that you take time for Sabbath. Find rest in Him and be rejuvenated and refreshed by your time away with God.