I feel like life is spinning at a breakneck pace lately. Every day has its own challenges and every night is busy with events, practices, meetings and obligations. Lots of these are fun and meaningful...but the day in and day out nature of life is exhausting. And as I talk, to other young families from church I find that they all feel the same way. We can barely find two minutes to eat dinner in the car as we drive from one kid's sports practice to another. Parents feel like tag team partners who only stop long enough to tag the other one in as they head off to work. And as all this crazy life stuff keeps going the dishes in the sink and laundry pile up, leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed and guilty about our poor time management skills.
I am not going to spend time today talking about the solutions to this problem which include prioritizing things that have long term impact and cutting those that don't...but I do want to take a second and talk about Sabbath.
Sabbath is the idea that we take a day and set it aside for rest. We all need rest (as much as we seem bent on denying this fact). We need physical rest for our bodies. We need spiritual rest for our souls. We need emotional rest for our minds and hearts. God gave us the Sabbath not as some rule that we would feel guilty about breaking; but because He loves us and wants us to have the rest we need.
Jesus said "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).
I STRONLY encourage you to find a time to rest. Take a long weekend away. Take a date night. Take a day off of work. Skip a sports practice (your kid won't die) and have a family dinner. Go to church. Read your Bible at a leisurely pace. Pray. Take a nap. Take another nap. Sabbath is good and as much as people may think it weird for your commitment to rest...it was God's idea.
I pray you will rest and find a pace that you can live with in joy.
n some ways it's easy to love God. He isn't like our friends and neighbors who might do annoying things (mow their yards early in the morning, chew loudly, interrupt us when we are talking or root for the Patriots...) and since He is invisible and doesn't speak audibly very often, we are kind of free to ignore Him until we choose to seek Him. We might say we love God; but it's easy just to keep God in your back pocket until you need Him.
People on the other hand are hard to love. Sometimes they disagree with us. Sometimes they annoy us. Sometimes they pester us. Sometimes they say the wrong things or do the wrong things. And yet, if we can't learn to love our neighbors; how can we claim to love God.
1 John 4:20 gives a particularly hard teaching when it says "Whoever claims to love God and yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen."
This verse hits like a Mike Tyson punch. If you claim to love God (most of us I bet) and yet aren't able to love your fellow man...then you don't really love God; you are a liar and only pretending to love God. Ouch. That stings, right? And yet, it's true.
So, you wanna learn to love God more? Start by loving your neighbor. Start by loving your cousin. Start by loving that guy who voted different than you. Start by loving that lady who disagrees with you. Start by loving that annoying person. Learn to love them. This won't happen overnight; but it can happen. How?
1. Listen to them. We spend too much time talking and not enough listening.
2. Pray for them. Nothing softens your heart faster than praying for someone.
3. Be kind to them. Do something nice for them and expect nothing in return.
The goal is to love God more; and one step is to start by loving your neighbor better.