The following post is written by guest blogger and Vista teaching team member, Tim Stauffer, a licensed professional counselor whom God gave the message of “sabbath” to share with our church this summer. Check out Tim’s preview on this vital topic…
Are you exhausted? Tired? Anxious? Would you like to be free from the anxiety of production, consumption and never-ending to-do lists? Do you feel enslaved to your work? Are you always looking for how to increase your influence, your revenue or your status? Is your life marked by a deep contentment and satisfaction? Are you able to enjoy a free day without guilt or anxiety that you should be working or producing more? What would it be like if you were given a free day each week where you could truly worship God, relax, spend time with your family and friends, and advocate for justice and mercy to be extended to the most vulnerable and oppressed of our society?
Sabbath rest is a theme the weaves through the entirety of the Bible and something for which God has expressed a great deal of passion. Check out what God said in Jeremiah 17: “But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.”
It kind of gives the impression that Sabbath keeping is vital.
Sadly, throughout church history, Sabbath rest has often been reduced to legalism and marked by inconsistency in application. This has fostered unhelpful arguments about particular days of the week and useless debates about what is OK to do on Sundays (what day is the Sabbath anyway??). All this has resulted in missing the point of Sabbath rest.
Over the next several weeks we plan to explore in depth God’s gift of Sabbath rest as an essential part of making our identity in Christ real — a next step from our previous series on identity, “Who Do You Think You Are?”. We will also explore how it adds meaning to our work, helps us know God better, and how it is a vital part of our transformation into Christlikeness. Additionally, Sabbath rest is an essential challenge to the status quo of an out of balance society that has forgotten God and offers a solid foundation for building healthy communities and interpersonal relationships.
The Bible is clear in Colossians 2:17 that the reality of Sabbath rest is found in Christ. And yet Hebrews 4:9 teaches us that “there, remains then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” I hope that you tune in over the next several weeks and explore with us the current relevancy of this ancient command “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.”