Sabbath Rest

In Leviticus 25:4, God instructs Moses on taking care of the land He is giving him.

during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” (NASB)

Sabbath rest is holy rest, and it is necessary for land, bodies, and hearts. We live in a sleep deprived society that refuses to pause. Stillness and rest are luxuries that escape us, or maybe busyness is simply a convenient excuse for not stopping.

I led a very busy life before retiring seven years ago and immediately took on a new job and worked for another four years. After that, I helped with my granddaughters while my daughter-in-law finished school and began working. I know the importance of Sabbath. It is one of the ten commandments we so adamantly want displayed in public places, but I’m afraid I’ve never modeled the commandment very well.

Shalom means peace or completeness, and Sabbath is the seventh day of the week set aside for spiritual renewal. We wish others Shabbot Shalom when we hope they will find a peaceful time of renewal with God. No one knows better than God how hard it is for His children to find a moment to rest in Him, and no one desires that time together more than He.

Psalm 46:10 says,

“Be still and know that I am God.” (KJV)

It’s always been difficult for me to be still, but I am getting better at stopping my striving and being still in God’s presence. I grew up believing I had to work for God, do for God, give to God, get for God, etc…. God prefers for me to stop for a moment and simply be with Him. The practices of silence, solitude, and simplicity are vital to spiritual growth. Stillness is an important element of each.

Land will be depleted if the same crop is planted year after year; the same is true for my heart. It, too, needs to be fallow for a season. Winter is a perfect season to rest in obedience and allow Christ’s precious love to seep deeply into my heart. I know God has wonderful plans, and I know that He knows my heart better than anyone. Doing is important, and God doesn’t want me to stop doing. He just wants me to take time to rest peacefully in His presence.

I slept for ten hours last night and have found myself day dreaming one and off all day. I love my sacred imagination, and I love watching it play in the open space of my fallow heart. I used to think that was a waste of time, but I’m learning it’s the most important time of all. As I go into the holiday season, I plan to make stillness a part of my preparations. It is a season of peace on earth, and what better place to start than in my own heart.

image courtesy of Darryl Smith via

image courtesy of Darryl Smith via

Starting Point

The starting point is more important than the final destination because it defines my journey. If I’m stuck in the past, I’m never able to catch up to myself. If I keep a foot in the future, I hobble along at a pitiful pace. I do both and end up stuck or stalled as a result. If I start where I am by making peace with my present, the journey will be as God intends. I rehash my past, rehearse my future, and miss my present.

Ice and snow have made for treacherous travel this week; when I finally did get out of the house, I found myself driving around with no destination in mind. It was wonderful to be moving after being sick and stuck indoors. Then, I sat in the sun and did nothing for a very long time. It was healing to soak in the sunshine and simply be. The best traveling is done when sitting still. It’s what allows my heart and soul to spiral upward, and that’s the destination I most desire.

Culture says be productive, go places, take charge of your own future, and never look back unless you need an excuse for your troubles. In Psalm 46:10, God has a different view.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” NIV

It’s silly to think stillness is the best way to move. Love is also a lot of silliness when you think about it. In fact, all of God’s ways are silly to the world. His ideas may be foolishness to some, but I learned this week that foolishness is the greatest wisdom of all. I plan to love when it makes no sense and be still when I feel like running. God reminded me this week that stillness is the very best starting point for any journey.