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1 The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female slaves and for your hired worker and the sojourner who lives with you, 7 and for your cattle and for the wild animals that are in your land: all its yield shall be for food.
- The Sabbath year
- Sabbath and work aren’t in opposition. They are integrated parts of an organic whole. Either apart from the other is crippled. Work doesn’t take us away from God; it continues the work of God through us. Sabbath is the final day in a series of workdays, each of which God declared good. There is more to work than work; there is God – God completing, God resting, God blessing, God sanctifying (Gen 2:2-3). The majority of us spend most of our time in the workplace. When we work, it must be congruent with the way God works. If there is no Sabbath in our lives, we soon become absorbed in our own work as an end in itself, and God’s work is either forgotten or marginalized.
- So how do we get these Sabbath-keeping rhythms into our lives so that we can work congruently with God, living more in step with him and his creation? The way we are to do it is to embed Sabbath keeping in weekly acts of worship. We keep Sabbath best when we enter a place of worship, gather with a congregation, sing and pray and listen to God. When we walk out of the place of worship, we walk with refreshed eyes and re-created hearts into the world in which we are images of God participating in his creation work. And this practice should be so embedded in our lives that even the land – even our places of business – participates in this joyous, life –giving rest.
What’s my work habit and philosophy? What’s my rhythm? Is it in step with God’s? Remain silent for a while, enjoy Sabbath for a moment. Converse with God; listen to what God wants to tell me.