You Can’t Have To

Jesus reminds us that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath and that it is perfectly lawful to do good on the Sabbath. What day is the Sabbath following Jesus’ fulfilling of all the law? Is it still Saturday? Is it Sunday? Is it no more … or is it everyday? Have you ever noticed that when Jesus is listing the commandments for people He never includes the 3rd commandment about the Sabbath? Is that because Jesus fulfilling of the law means that everyday is restful going forward? We might remind ourselves that “you CAN’T HAVE TO” in the kingdom of God/heaven.

Why don’t we see/feel this as Christians? The corruption in our human nature is half the reason; as Jesus warned, you can’t put new wine into old wineskins. We either enforce the Sabbath as a burden rather than a rest or we ignore it altogether. The other half of the reason has to do with a regenerate soul that is always at rest in the grace of God but unattended in our consciousness. Relaxing, backing out of the current of our times, coming to rest, peace, and serenity seems like hard work, maybe even too hard to bother trying. But God’s will to save and grace in love surrounds us and raises up a restful consciousness in us. This restfulness means that we are free to rest, to take a time out, to contemplate how marvelously and comprehensively God provides for our life at all times, through our respiration, the sun shining, and even when we sleep. From this consciousness we are able to engage the opportunities God gives us to work with enthusiasm and inspiration of His Spirit, from love of God and others rather than obligation or self-righteousness.

One of the many wonders of God’s Word is that the more your rest in it the more it moves you in a mysterious and powerful combination of peace and vigor. You don’t have to read your Bible for long before the Word and Spirit get you up and moving to care for others even as God cares for you.

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