Links Daily Devotional

A Day with God

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy… 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.” (Exodus 20:8,11, ESV)

For many years I equated remembering the Sabbath with the activity of solely going to church. When I was in college I would go to a morning service and then fill my afternoons with studying and practice. While on tour, Sunday offered the last chance to climb up the leaderboard. If I didn’t make the cut, finding a church service felt like too much energy and I usually defaulted to finding the quickest way out of town.

I have had seasons in my spiritual journey where I purposely tried to honor Sunday as a day of rest by attending church, reading, enjoying a walk, and choosing not to do work. Although it was a good practice of spiritual discipline, it often felt routine and legalistic. During each of my trips through Israel, I have witnessed the Sabbath day that begins at sundown on Friday honored with great intentionality, anticipation and joy as families and friends gather together to share time, food, and fellowship.

All of these experiences have left me wondering what does it actually mean to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy? I wish a list of do’s and don’ts would satisfy, but God’s heart in his commandment is not for his benefit; it’s for ours. In his book, Sabbath, Dr. Dan Allender writes, “The Sabbath is a day when we enter a dance with God and others and experience a beauty that takes our breath away.” Yes! I want this kind of Sabbath. I am beginning to believe we will enter into Sabbath rest when we start allowing delight to guide our way. This will be different for each one of us. defines delight as, “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture.” Entering into delight, according to Dr. Allender, “requires the courage to be attentive, intentional, and diligent.” Creating space for delight takes both planning and preparation. The hope is for the day to dazzle our senses with intrigue, laughter, stories, relationships, and play. Sabbath rest should stir our hearts toward awe and gratitude for God’s crazy love for us.

Recently I enjoyed a Sabbath of unexpected delight at the invitation to join friends for church and a spontaneous meal of delicious food, wine and fellowship. I danced with God and others that day and left with a full heart.

I believe we all can name moments of delight while playing golf: when the golf ball compresses off the sweet spot like a knife cutting through butter, making a long putt that appears to be impossible, or chipping in from off the green. My hunch is that we might have to search hard for moments that have been truly delightful on a Sabbath day.

God rested from his work not because he was tired, but so he could celebrate and delight in his handiwork and declare that it was good. For six days we labor and toil at our places of employment and at home. On the seventh day, the Sabbath, God is asking us, actually commanding us, to play with him and with others.

Tracy Hanson
October 2, 2014
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