February 19, 2013 |

Sabbath provides a rest for the soul

There’s an old vaudeville act that I don’t see done much anymore, but I recently found a great example of it on YouTube.

It’s the plate-spinning act. Do you remember that? You have one person who starts out with the not-so-easy task of spinning a plate on the top of a long stick or cue. And once he’s got that one spinning he’ll add another plate to another stick and another, and another.

Now, the good acts all had other bits to them as well that would draw the performer away from the plates for awhile, and you as the audience would begin to fret and fear as the plates started to wobble and came oh-so-close to stopping their rotations and come crashing down.

But, invariably, the performer was always able to get back to the plates just in time to spin them some more, and keep everything up in the air.

As I said, I haven’t seen this type of act for a long time, and I was wondering if that might be because nowadays the act would hit a little too close to home.

We wouldn’t appreciate the metaphor of trying to keep so many plates spinning at once, because we’re already doing that ourselves far too often. Or maybe it’s just because we don’t have time for such silly things anymore.

We are very busy people. A long time ago most of us bought into the myth that if you are busy, then you are important, and so we all seem to live our lives this way.

When it comes to rest, I think we all know we need it, but we all appear to have a very hard time making time for it. If only we had a little more time in our day, surely we would schedule in that rest time, right?

Having said that, however, what got me thinking was that oftentimes when we do actually get to rest, it’s just that: rest. It’s no more and no less, and therefore it’s not very satisfying. Our rest comes so sporadically and with such little lasting results, it’s no wonder we don’t take advantage of it more often.

I’m wondering if that’s because we rest, instead of Sabbath. Sabbath is one of those fancy church words that we often translate as rest, but in fact that’s doing it a little injustice.

Sabbath is much more than “just rest”. Sabbath is time to remember that God created everything in the whole universe, including us. He is the Creator, and therefore, the Center of the universe, which means that the universe does not actually revolve around us.

And Sabbath is our opportunity to stop and give thanks for that. It’s our chance to admit that if we stopped doing things for a minute, the world really would keep on spinning. Sabbath is a glorious opportunity to breathe deep and know that there is a God, and He has been and always will be in control. And thus we actually can rest.

I don’t know about you, but I needed to be reminded of that. In fact, I need to be reminded of that often. My life is so much more relaxed when I do. I find my times of rest to be more complete when I treat them more as Sabbath.

So if you’ve found yourself resting, but not feeling rested, perhaps it’s time to try something different. Consider the old biblical idea of Sabbath. It is true rest for the soul.

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