Monday, August 29, 2011

Those 10 Commandments

Yesterday I learned in church that I should probably be stoned. You should too. They'll probably take us all outside the camp and stone us if they knew how poorly we followed the 4th Commandment.
Exodus 20:8-11 "8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

I'm not very good at resting. Resting is one of those things that I'll do if I have time. When a weekend comes around I don't think of the many ways I can put my feet up and take a break; instead, I think of all the things I can get done around the house. Can you relate?

This is something that I've been trying to work on, but it wasn't until Pastor Kevin shared this passage at church yesterday that it sort of hit me over the head:

Numbers 15:32-26
32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Wowzers. They stoned him for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. At first glance, this does seem a bit harsh. However, resting on the Sabbath is a Commandment. Why is that we can so easily hold up some of the 10 Commandments like "Do Not Murder," and "Do Not Steal," but we dismiss others like "Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy?"

God has commanded us to rest. Why have I not listened in all my 30 years?

Oh, I can come up with reasons.
  • I'm really busy. (read: I'm really important and have much to do)
  • That was for those times back then, things are different now.
  • Have you SEEN my dirty house?
  • But my friends are coming in from out of town.
  • If I don't do the dishes, we'll get ants in the kitchen!
  • I have to mow the lawn today because it might rain tomorrow.
The list could go on and on. After all, I've used items off the list for 30 years.

Here's the thing - Resting on the Sabbath isn't an option. It's a Commandment. God has commanded me to do this, and He knows what he's doing. After all, He designed me before the world saw me. He knows my intricate details, and He believes that rest is important enough to make it a commandment. It's about time I listen.

I've been pondering Pastor Kevin's words and wondering, what does it look like for me to rest? The particular rest he talked about wasn't the kind of "rest" we sometimes do when we sit on the couch and watch hours of TV - he encouraged us to choose activities that rejuvenated us.

Here are some questions I pondered throughout the day:
  • What activities give me life?
  • What activities are different enough from my day-to-day routine that I feel like I'm getting a break from work?
  • What does work look like at home?
  • What activities should I not do on Sundays because they are really work?
  • Why is rest so hard for me?
  • Am I strong enough to rest?
Zac and I had some great discussions throughout the day, and we committed to try and rest more on Sundays. My big chore at home is laundry, and his is dishes. We both agreed to not do those on Sundays. I'm pretty sure the world won't end, we'll still have clothes to wear and dishes to use for meals. We also agreed to avoid the house projects that were really work and weren't relaxing or rejuvenating. Things like landscaping, mowing the lawn, remodeling, etc. are work. Things like doing woodwork in the garage, playing in the garden, and stamping cards are fun. If they start being more work than fun, we'll adjust.

I'm still searching for more restful activities. Sometimes I trick myself into thinking something is rest, when it's really an item I can cross off my task list. For example, last night I picked a bowl of green beans from the garden and washed, cut, boiled, and froze them. I told myself it was a "fun" activity for me. It was "restful." Yeah right! Who was I kidding?!? I won't do that again. It was work.

So I now embark on a journey to follow the 4th commandment more closely. I look forward to the positive benefits rest will have on my life. Will you take some time today to think about what rest looks like for you?

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