Less is more.
This isn’t just a phrase to pull out when your wife starts decorating for Christmas, your daughter starts planning a wedding, or you’re looking down at the scale at the holiday pounds that haven’t disappeared yet. In fact…there might even be something Biblical about it.
We’re starting our Margin series this weekend. For the next few weeks, we’re going to take a hard, honest look at the ways we let the junk and busyness of life crowd our souls and keep us from being the people God intended us to be. Let me just warn you up front: something inside of you is going to resist this message.
Most of you reading this are American. You think like a westerner. I think like a westerner. Our subconscious train of thought goes something like this:
“If I am super busy, then I must be important. If I don’t get enough sleep, it’s because I’m in high demand. People can’t function without me. The more productive I am, the more valuable I am as a human being. If I can’t concentrate on a business call while eating breakfast and doing 80 mph on the 94 after five hours of sleep, then I have failed as a person. The cleanliness of my house/success of my practice/number of kids’ extracurriculars/level of exhaustion determines my worth and identity.”
Is that you? It’s definitely me.
God is pretty smart–he anticipated the fact that we would try to find our worth in all kinds of places other than him. One of the safeguards that he set up for us (and we’re going to talk about this one this weekend) is the idea of Sabbath.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20: 8-10).
Do you have a Sabbath in your week? Obviously mine doesn’t happen on Saturday or Sunday–our traditional “rest” days–because I work all weekend. I learned the hard way about ten years ago that if I don’t have a regular Sabbath, I crash and burn, so Fridays are now my Sabbath. That’s my day to unplug.
We can quickly get legalistic about the concept, which is where the Pharisees went wrong. They ended up doing MORE work to try to “keep the Sabbath,” which completely missed the point. As Jesus said, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Here’s what my intern Chaz wrote about it this week:
Sabbath (and all of the Christian life) is not about what we can’t have, but what we get to experience out of the goodness of God. So much of the time, we flip this around. We think the “Sabbath” and building margin into our life is a time not ‘to do’, but actually the Sabbath is a time to do what really matters in life. Building margin into your life is not that I want something from you, but that I want something for you! Margin and Sabbath are about enjoying the best part of God’s creation. I think that’s why the psalms talk about the Glory of God so much.
Rest is something that God knows your soul needs. He knows we need a reminder every single week that we don’t make the world turn.
So before this weekend, give it some thought. What is keeping you from rest? If your first thought is–”There’s no way everything would get done if I rested,” it might be time to have a chat with God about turning over your plastic crown.
Trust me–he’s got it covered.
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