Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Selective Sabbath

Back when I was graduating high school there was a portion of the U.S. Government called the "Selective Service System." When I was in my "younger days" I thought that meant I could select to go into military service or I could select not to go into military service. The closer I drew to my 18th birthday the more I learned that the selecting was at the Government's option, not mine. YIKES!

Yes, I did "register" and did not make flight to the northern reaches of our continental landmass, and no, I was not selected. I was not called to serve my country in that manner, it looked like God had another call in mind. Still wonder sometimes why I got one and not the other...oh well.

My misconstrued idea about the Selective Service is often an idea we bring to God's gift of the Sabbath. We believe that the Sabbath is something that we can select to do, or not. We may see it as an opportunity to serve, or to rest, or to "see the world," but no matter what, it is something we have the power over. I suppose at some level we do, but that was not God's original plan. Like all of God's original plans, we have a way of getting things all mixed up.

We fail to realize, like I did in the mid-1970's, that it is God who does the selecting, not we ourselves. God has selected us for the Sabbath. It is something He really wants us to do and enjoy. Sabbath is, unlike the Selective Service, a true and beautiful gift from the LORD. It is not just something we need at the end of a busy week, but rather it is something given to us to enjoy even before our week begins. I appreciate Marva J. Dawn's thoughts regarding the Sabbath being the first thing that Man was given to do, even before he started to care for the Garden. (The Sense of the Call, p. 36) The Sabbath is not reward, but gift. It is another of God's gifts of Grace for us, those He loves.

The Lord Jesus reminded His followers that Sabbath was created for man, not the other way around. (Mark 2:27) We were selected for it, to enjoy it, to be refreshed in it, to be strengthened by it. It is a gift of God.

A question remains, one which I hope to offer some thoughts about in my coming sermons and blogging, "What is the best way to enjoy this gift with which God has blessed us?" Any ideas? (whoops, sorry, that's two questions).


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