One of the blessings of doing a couple of workshops recently at the Christian Schools Canada conference in British Columbia was hearing keynote speaker Mark Buchanan and reading his book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.
Mark reminds us that Sabbath is a matter of renewing our minds – choosing to live a certain way, making and keeping commitments. Work is broken, along with all other aspects of our lives and it needs renewal – we need to “be made new in the attitude of our minds” (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23.) Even our leisure is not complete or refreshing if it is missing the sacred element – focus toward God. In purposeful and God focused living we discover joy: “to experience the sacred amidst the commonplace – to taste heaven in our daily bread, a new heaven and new earth in a mouthful of wine, joy in the ache of our muscles or the sweat of our brows” (p.37.) He points out that a Sabbath heart is fully present, paying attention, looking for God in each moment. He encourages us to be the poets God created us to be, paying full attention to the people and creation in which God has placed us.
For all of us who are caught up in the speed up, Buchanan points out that we not only feel more frightened, hurt, isolated, and obligated, but that our capacity for both steadfastness and adventure shrivels. We begin to believe the lie that “it all depends on me. How will the right things happen at the right time if I’m not pushing and pulling and watching and worrying? . . .Unless we trust God’s sovereignty, we won’t dare risk Sabbath. . . either God is good and in control, or it all depends on you “(pp. 61-63). Buchanan points us to Psalm 23 as cure: “. . . he makes me lie down (and rest in Him), Psalm 62 – “my soul finds rest in God alone” and encourages us to make thankfulness a habit because it is through thankfulness that we acknowledge God’s sovereignty and goodness to us.
I was personally convicted several times as I read this book and was motivated to make changes in my life. I encourage you to pick up a copy and have your understanding of the delight of Sabbath be broadened, and your life enriched, as you rest in God.