This is the reflection I wrote for yesterday’s sermon. Now I just need to COMPLETELY take it heart and follow it.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself lying cushioned by a velvety green blanket of grass under a sky painted the most perfect shade of blue, with the occasional white cloud billowing by. Feel the soft, gentle breeze lightly brushing against your skin. Hear the tranquil murmuring of a nearby brook as it caresses the rocks. Lazily watch the path of a butterfly as it floats along its path. Empty your mind of everything except the pleasure and experience of this moment right now. Be refreshed.
That is the mental image I always have of the first verses in Psalm 23: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (NIV) Do you long to experience that? I DO!
We are on this quest to DO. To ACCOMPLISH. To be EFFICIENT, ACTIVE, DILIGENT and INDUSTRIOUS. On our vacations or days off, we feel the need to fill them with activities, to be productive, even if they are fun activities. If we slow down or try to relax, we may feel guilty because we are “wasting time.” I think we’re being lied to by an enemy that doesn’t want us to be refreshed. Are you BUSY? Being Under Satan’s Yoke?
Why did God include “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy” in the Ten Commandments? As a burden or another rule to follow? Or did He give us a gift? A precious gift of restoration. A time to come to Him and allow Him to refresh us with His Living Water. Do you know that deep satisfying feeling as you drink ice-cold water when you’re parched with thirst? We feel replenished, freshened, rejuvenated, revitalized. That’s how it should feel if we let Him quench our soul-thirst. If we allow Him to refresh us.
He knew our tendency was to STRIVE and try to do it on our own! Re-read those verses in Psalm 23. He MAKES me lie down, He LEADS, and THEN He REFRESHES. So this needed and vital Sabbath rest is partially about “unplugging” from our physical work because we are tired. And tired disciples are ineffective disciples. But it’s also about “unplugging” from striving on our own. It’s about “unplugging” from whatever is taking us away from those green pastures and quiet waters. It’s about “unplugging” from the world’s pull on us. It’s about “unplugging” from the lie that we have to DO because if we don’t, then it won’t get done. It’s about relinquishing our control and allowing Him to do His work in us and through us. It’s about being still and quiet and listening to the One who loves us. It’s about “plugging” into the One who can do all things. Even restore and refresh us. And then we are able to find rest in His promises.