Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Beating the Rat-Race

"I'm overwhelmed!"

"I'm just exhausted."

"My life is crazy right now."

Sound familiar? All too often this is not a temporary condition. It is our normal state. Americans in general and Christians, in particular, seem to feel that being too busy is a virtue. We are beating the rat-race – sort of. And the corollary of that attitude seems to be that our extraordinary busy-ness justifies sloppy, shallow living.

But this is not what we have received from God. His routine is:

"Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work ..." Deuteronomy 5:13, 14 (NASB)

The initial giving of the Law cites as the reason for this command that we are made to imitate God's work of creation:

"… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day ..." Exodus 20:11 (NASB)

Deuteronomy 5 goes on to give a further reason:

"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm ..." Deuteronomy 5:15 (NIV)

We are made for rest in the midst of work. Further, God has purchased a holiday for us one day in seven as a part of our freedom from slavery to sin. The Sabbath is a constant reminder that where merely human strength cannot bring our work to fruition, God's might can - even without us. God's people ought not to be slaves of the urgent.

But we ought not to be slaves to a slate of Sabbath-Day do's and don'ts either. The rhythms of God's work and the dance of our Sabbath worship ought to be teaching us music that we can embellish, rather than merely repeating. Sadly, our anything-goes age has forgotten most of the steps, so here is a brief of the dance.

In worship we:
1) Come near and know our unworthiness
2) Confess our sin and receive forgiveness
3) Respond with thanks and praise
4) Receive God's nourishment in Word and Sacrament
5) Go out rejoicing in God's strength and commissioning

So rightly, the Sabbath could properly contain so much:
1) Reflection, journaling, scrapbooking
2) Letting others off the hook in various ways, including letting yourself off the hook (He has), napping
3) Singing, making music, writing thank you notes or calls
4) Feasting, discussing the Scriptures and their applications in our day, exercising hospitality, seeing a movie or reading a book that will flesh out the implications of God's Word...
5) Planning the coming week in light of the Biblical admonitions we received from worship, laughingWe are not called to the rat-race, but to a dance. God invites us to learn the steps of His dance in little weekly lessons, so that when we come at last to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, we will spin and dip with the best of them. Leave the rat-race. Join the dance!

Revised from the March 7, 2006 article on www.mother-lode.blogspot.com titled “Liturgy for Living.”  Copyright by Kim Anderson, released for CBN publication.

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