Wednesday, October 27, 2004
God gave us a great gift when He provided our ministry with a wonderful used car not long ago. It's the easiest car to drive that we've ever had. The windows are interesting. Looking out the windshield, everything looks clear - except for summer when you're looking through dead bugs with glue in them. Looking out the side windows is another story. They're tinted for privacy. But over the years and the miles and all the heat, the tinting has started to create ripples in the glass. So everything you look at through those windows doesn't look quite right. It's blurred and distorted and dark.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Hurried, Worried, and Blurry."
The view isn't right when you're looking through a window that's dark or blurred. And sadly, too many of us are looking at life through a window like that too much of the time. You know, it doesn't have to be that way. In the way He created us, God has provided something that can keep your view clear most of the time and help you actually avoid the mistakes we make because we're looking at things through a dirty or distorted window. One reason a lot of us are way more stressed than we need to be is that we neglect this vision-clearing gift from God.
It's clear that God built the need for it right into our creation when you go back 3,000 years to what He said in Leviticus 23:13, our word for today from the Word of God. "There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest ... you are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord." God designed us to work six days a week - not seven - and to focus on worship and rest one day out of seven. Like a car, we can't be all accelerator and no brakes or we'll be out of control and will ultimately crash. The Sabbath principle is the brakes that our creator has built into our lives to keep that from happening. And we can't continue to defy our created order and end up in good shape.
Unfortunately, our society, our careers, our churches, even our own drivenness often push us to keep driving all the time - all accelerator, no brakes. God even included the Sabbath requirement in His Ten Commandments. He's serious about it. This isn't about legalism. It's about respecting our creator and living as we were created to. It's about personal sanity!
You may be experiencing right now what neglecting your Sabbaths does to the window through which you look at life. Prolonged stretches without timeouts start to distort your judgment; cause you to make mistakes, to be more vulnerable to temptation and choices you'll regret. When you don't stop regularly to rest, your creativity starts to dry up, your sensitivity starts to turn to hardness, you're meaner, more short-tempered, more negative, more cutting. People look worse than they are, problems look bigger than they are, and God seems farther than He is. You make some of your biggest mistakes when you're fatigued, and one major reason you're fatigued may be that you've simply blown by one Sabbath rest after another. Your Sabbaths are pretty consistently delayed, abbreviated, or canceled. And you, and probably people around you, are suffering unnecessarily for it.
In Exodus 31:13, God says, "You must observe my Sabbaths ... so you may know that I am the Lord." When you tithe your money, you are acknowledging that, as Lord of your finances, God can do more in your life with your obedient 90% than with the disobedient 100% you insist on keeping. When you take the Sabbath timeouts God has commanded, you are acknowledging His Lordship over your time; that He will enable you to do more in six days than you can do in seven days when you're dishonoring His Sabbath rest.
Your outlook may be getting increasingly blurred, dark, and distorted. You've probably not been stopping for the window cleaning that God does only when you've stopped to rest. You need to get your Sabbaths, so God doesn't one day have to violently throw on the brakes when your Sabbaths will get you.