Rest or Rules?
Sabbath, Rest, Shalom, Sabbath-keeping, we 12-Springers have been hearing a lot about Simplifying our lives, gearing down, paring back our tech...meditation...even breathing and “centering”. Almost sounds “new-agey”. But the truth is, Americans have been, compared to the rest of the Western world, one of the hardest working nations in the recent time-span. Europe commonly takes more time off from business than America does. Unemployment is at an all time low but the cost of living keeps increasing and many folks are having to work 2, 3 jobs just to survive. So, the need to follow Christ's words and “Come apart and rest” may very timely. That said,... A real concern is that we in trying to simplify may substitute religious rule making and keeping for entering into “that Sabbath Rest” spoken of in Hebrews which refers to the “better way” of union with Jesus Christ. Paul in Romans 14: 5-12, shows us how that folks can either forget Love (Agape/God's Love) in chiding each other about rules about days and Sabbath Keeping or religious services or special days or Eating this or that. Certainly Judging one another about such things does not enter into the Sabbath which Jesus brings or longs to bring into our lives. Simply abandoning the world sounds romantic! Sounds attractive! But to be at one with our Lord is certainly the way to start down any path which leads to fulfillment. When we take Steps in our lives to do anything we think would help us spiritually, let us assure ourselves we are actually following, actually walking with, actually having Christ step through us- Christ who is the Way after all. What if following Jesus in your life leads you to fast, leads you to commit to regular fellowship, leads to fast this or put away that? There is nothing wrong in following our Shepherd in any path-there is never any fear in that. What Paul shows us is that Everybody is called together with everybody else to follow Jesus from where they presently are now! Not from where someone else is at any time in their life. Seek Jesus Now! Find out where He is leading you. When you do, pray for others to find the Rest, the Shalom, the true Sabbath that comes from being united with the “Lord of the Sabbath.”
The Weak and the Strong 1Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister a ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.-Romans 14:1-10
So, Let's all press on into the Rest, the Sabbath, God has for each of us. But be aware that the Rest we enter into is Custom designed by our Creator for each individual. Same God over each individual so we can trust that what we are called to will do the job right, if we are in step with God's Spirit.