Posts Tagged ‘sabbath

18
Nov
08

Sabbath…unloaded

Poor self management was warning sign #5 given by Mark Sanborn, in his recent article “Why Leaders Fail”.  Mark is a Christian who works in the field of leadership coaching.  He writes, “Leaders who fail to take care of their physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs are headed for disaster.”

Mark’s caution applies to all men, regardless of their formal roles as leaders.  We are not going to lead our wives, our kids, our peers, or ourselves for that matter, if we perpetually disregard the need to replenish our reserves.

Sabbath is a God-given life rhythm intended to restore us in our relationship with God, others, and self.  God modelled this rhythm when on the seventh day he rested from all the work of creating the material world (Ge 2:1-3).  He enshrined this rhythm into the fabric of Hebrew society (Ex 20:8-11).  However, this restorative rhythm was corrupted and over time became a burden of man-made “do not’s”.

Jesus challenged that legalistic view of keeping Sabbath.  Instead he called people “to do good on the Sabbath” (Mt 12:12).  The “good” is to engage in that which will rejuvenate self and restores our relationship with God and with others.

This is not a one-off emergency pit stop, but a weekly interruption of our worries and busyness.  It is an intentional disengagement from our employment.  It is a setting aside of the tools of our trade, tangible or technical, so that we might be refreshed — margins re-established that we might once again bear the responsibilities that are ours.

What does this look like in practical terms?  I can’t nor should I give you a “one-size-fits-all”.  For me, it means designating an email-free day.  Emails regularly bring reminders and requests associated with my vocation.  Sabbath is about intentionally taking a break from that, so that I can be rejuvenated.  I am also learning that I need to purposefully engage in activities that refuel me.  Time with spiritual friends, reading, running and Café Misto at Starbucks are some that renew me.  What about you?  What chorus of activities restores your soul?

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14
Jul
08

Jesus is no wimp (Mark 3)

Jesus is no wimp.  Chapter three begins with an event on the Sabbath.  The ‘rules-first’ leaders were watching to see if Jesus was going to ‘break’ the religious code by doing a ‘work’ of healing.  They are out to get him, to accuse him, but Jesus does not shy away from the conflict.  He not only heals, but he confronts the hardness of the leaders.  The next scene is different but equally intense.  Here the crowds are crushing in upon him hoping to touch him and thereby be healed and when the unclean spirits of those demonized recognize Jesus they fall down declaring, “You are the Son of God”.  Imagine the scene: the mob pressing, some collapsing, demonic voices.  Jesus holds his ground and even warned the unclean spirits not to make known who he was.  The text moves on.  There is more ministry, intense ministry, no time to even eat.  His enemies malign him, suggesting he casts out demons by the power of the prince of demons.  His own family thinks he has gone mad.  Jesus is not knocked off course.  He is no wimp.

What brings it home to me is the last scene, where Jesus says, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother” (vv. 34-35).  Jesus has been about his Father’s will.  It has been intense.  No place for the spineless.  Those who likewise will be about the Father’s business, Jesus considers his ‘family’.  I want to be numbered among them, but it is no place for wimps.  Am I ready to do good, am I ready to confront hard hearts, am I ready to be spent in serving the crowd, am I ready to be misunderstood, even maligned?

I would love to hear your comments.

For other posts in the series click here.

11
Jul
08

Son-of-a-gun that is some Son of Man (Mark 2)

As I read through Mark 2 (see here for text) three things about Jesus’ identity struck me.

First, he has the authority to forgive people their sins. This is not the same as me choosing to forgive someone that has wronged me. It is more than that, it is absolving another of their sin, regardless of whether their sin was against me. Only God can do that (see v. 7)!

Last post we talked about Jesus’ priority as not miraculous works but proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. I see more of that in chapter 2. The self-righteous religious leaders of the day are appalled that Jesus spends time with down-and-outers like tax collectors. Jesus responds to their criticism by saying, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (v. 17). Jesus ‘call’ was an invitation to follow him, to repent and become his apprentice.

The third thing that struck me was this line, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” (vv. 27-28).

The phrase ‘Son of Man’ is ambiguous. It could simply be a third-person way of Jesus referring to himself. Maybe their are some echoes of the figure in Daniel 7, who received an everlasting kingdom from God. Echo or no echo, Jesus is talking about himself and he is claiming to be the lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the seventh day of the week, a day of solemn rest, set aside for God and i

nstituted by Him, marking His rest from the work of creation. How is it that Jesus can claim to be the lord of that day? Only God can claim that! Once more I see that Jesus is not just an itinerant teacher followed by a bunch of “sinners” who don’t know that picking grain is a ‘no no’ on the Sabbath, he is claiming by works and words to be God.

What is my take away? Well I was struck with how the righteous religious ones always seem to be on the wrong side of the issue. They seemed wrapped up in preserving a rules-first status quo. I don’t want to join them in that. Jesus’ call to sinners, of which I am one, goes beyond ‘rules-first’ and instead invites us to a relationship-first apprenticeship. That is what I want to line up with!

Your thoughts?

For other posts in this series click here.




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