"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
“Then he (Jesus) said to them, 'The Sabbath was made
for man, not man for the Sabbath.'”
Mark 2: 27 (NIV)
With summer coming on fast, we need to make sure that we don't run around chasing our tails, so to speak. We want to cram in so much while we have the time in the sun that we sometimes forget to take time to rest. It's easy to do, the days are longer, so it gives us more opportunities to get it all done. It's usually nice weather, warm and breezy, so, of course, we need to be out in it. After all, winter will be here soon enough. "Make hay while the sun shines" is popular for a reason.
But what does that have to do with the quote from Jesus above? The Jewish Pharisees and teachers of the Law were strict observers of what could, and could not, be done on the Sabbath. It really got ridiculous. See, not only would they hold a close observance to what was written in the Jewish Scriptures, the Books of Moses, but over the years, they made loopholes so that they could do certain things without breaking the Sabbath. Yet, they still held people to standards that didn't have common sense. It's one thing to honor God, and we most certainly should do that every day, not just on the Sabbath, but they were willing to let people suffer on the Sabbath because it was against the Law to cross over and help them out of a ditch or well.
Isaiah, recording what God told him to write, wrote this in Chapter 58: 5-10: "Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."
The Sabbath isn't about rules; it's about the heart. Yes, we may miss a Sunday because we are on vacation or recovering from a long drive. That's okay...if we are still having a heart and living a life devoted to Jesus. I do believe that attending and belonging to a fellowship of Believers is important in our Faith walk, but we don't have to make it something to stress over. I know that there are people who are shut-ins and can't get to church. They feel really bad about not being able to worship with their friends and family. But they can still pray and counsel others, directing them in what they have learned through the years of studying the Bible. Their hearts are right with Jesus, so the Sabbath is always with them. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, and, if we are truly followers of Jesus, the Sabbath will never be far away from us. Sabbath is a day of rest and reflection on God and how our relationship is integrated with Him. So, if you miss a Sunday, don't stress out. It's okay to miss the people and worshiping Jesus with them, but life is about being dedicated to Jesus, not to an order of worship. Rest easy this summer and God bless.