Stop | Deuteronomy 5:12-15
No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as God, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day—no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your servants and maids will get the same rest as you. Don’t ever forget that you were slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there in a powerful show of strength. That’s why God, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 | MSG
The Fourth commandment is the longest and most inclusive of all ten. It’s placement is not by accident. The first three commandments are about God; the last six are about humanity. The fourth acts as a fulcrum. It is a bridge between the two sections. The Sabbath commandment embraces the wealthy, the slave, and the illegal immigrant. It pertains to minimum-age workers and to students. It covers animals. It includes children. The Fourth Commandment applies equally to men and women. It is made to protect those who believe and those who do not. It is to be followed by humanity, and it is observed by God himself. ~ Matthew Sleeth, 24/6
This truly is our Great Omission. We don’t know how to stop, our life like an interminable sermon in which the preacher (you and me) doesn’t know how to make an end, to use a period, and step back from the lectern. Historically, even those who have remembered to stop have tended to make Sabbath the ultimate adventure in missing the point as they force themselves into ritualistic contortions to avoid anything that might qualify as “work.” This has had the unfortunate effect of inoculating the rest of us against the whole idea, relegating “Sabbath” to the scrap yard of formerly good religious ideas. And so we end up affirming the Ten Commandments but dismissing the fourth as now irrelevant or outdated – even as others fixate on it and their required religious prescriptions for it. The reality is that we are 24/6 creatures cramming ourselves into a 24/7 mold of ceaseless, multi-tasking activity. The reality is that all his life Jesus observed a day of rest – even as he redefined and reshaped it for his contemporaries. The reality is Jesus knew how to stop. The reality is that, however we might argue about what day is “Stop Day,” or if it needs to be a whole day, or whatever – we have forgotten how to stop. To walk as Jesus walked is to relearn that skill. It is relearning how to stop.
What is your take on “Sabbath”? Do you personally know how to stop? What does this look like for you?
Lord, give me the grace to stop! Show me how to exit the expressway of my life and truly experience a rest stop with you, where I can breathe in grace. Where I can breathe in you.
Intentionally walk slower today. Take the time to notice a little more than usual what is passing before you as you walk…
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.