by Stephen W. Smith
In the recent Potter’s Inn Journal posts, I have been sharing with you our need to build a new platform to live. We layout this new platform—plank by plank. Nothing good is done in a hurry and developing a long time view of change and transformation is needed. Through time, we unlearn some things. In time, we can deconstruct some old ways of living that simply are not working for us anymore.
The apostle Paul reminded us to “work out our salvation”, and so we do this plank by plank. Each plank helps us build this new platform that we learn to stand upon to live the life described by Jesus as a life of abundance.
Here are the five planks we have identified in our work with people over the years that are the core message of Potter’s Inn Ministry—whether it is through a book, a talk, an off-site retreat or a retreat at Aspen Ridge:
-The Plank of Our True Identity as the Beloved. ( Read article here)
-The Plank of Living in Rhythm, not balance. (Read article here)
-The Plank of Sabbath as the most important part of living in rhythm.
-The Plank of Practicing Spiritual Exercises to cultivate the life we want to live.
-The Plank of Helping Others with their own soul care.
This week we want to explore Sabbath keeping as a necessary plank in cultivating a life worth living. As we all know, we’re busy people. We don’t need to keep kicking the proverbial ant hill about this. But it is right here---right at the intersection of hurry and scurry that I have found most people’s lives come unhinged.
We’re always on. We’re always available.
The foundational antidote for our dilemma is God’s idea. God initiated the concept of Sabbath during creation. Sabbath is not man’s idea. The goodness of God is seen in this fact: God wanted rest for his people.
In God’s economy of time, Sabbath—one particular day of rest and restoration was key to the other six days. Without this one day, we get caught up in our work making work our god—the all important mantra is perform, achieve and do more. Sabbath is the antidote to our dilemma.
By rest, in rest and through rest, we find a sustainable cadence for our lives that promotes a resilient life—not a life to survive.
In our work with business leaders and marketplace leaders, it is right here that we see the issue. Long hours, overloaded capacity and no real time to come down, be done or live down is violated. We feel as if we can’t turn off our minds and the lists of ‘shoulds” and “let me just finish one more email.”
Sabbath teaches us that our work is never done. We don’t rest because our work is done. We rest because through rest we are able to continue our work. This kind of sustainable rhythm provides four key and essential benefits to our lives and the world around us.
1. Sabbath protects us. We are protected from always being on and always doing more. Our souls need to be “off” for a while. Sabbath means “to cease.” By ceasing, we trickle charge our souls and hearts. We renew our capacity every six days to show up and invest. Without this protection, we will and do live shallow, driven and fragmented lives.
2. Sabbath gives us perspective. When we stop long enough to get a view out—a view away from the tyranny of the urgent, we see the bigger picture. We begin to look forward to our Sabbaths because we come to realize that THIS day gives us the opportunity to see life from a different perspective. The tyranny of the urgent subsides and the important things in our lives are opened up to us.
3. Sabbath offers us the promise of joy. There is a direct correlation to your rhythm of life and the quality of joy you experience inside. When we practice this sustainable rhythm, we see a sense of joy bubbling up inside of us. Joy in today’s world, is replaced by urgency, drivenness and shallowness. For lack of joy, we are turning to addictions that promise to satisfy us but only gratify us. Sabbath keeping offers us a sense of joy to turn every six days to time that restores, people who refresh us and the heart of God that ordains that the people who follow him and call him “Father” should have rest as a marker of their lives.
4. Sabbath is God’s provision. Knowing that we would forget this core truth, God gave Sabbath keeping as one of the Ten Commandments. It is the ONLY commandment that starts with “Remember.” We need to remember this life-giving opportunity that is a gift to us—every six days. Not once a month or year, but every six days we are provided a day to recharge our drained souls.
Keeping a day, every six days to renew our hearts-- that are too crowded; our bodies-- that are too tired; and our minds-- that are too filled with people, events and things, helps us! This new rhythm which is actually very ancient and tried and proven is core and essential. Sabbath keeping is for any person who wants to taste the goodness of God and to live a life marked by a sense of inner abundance.
Here are three resources to help you explore this more:
1. The chapter in Soul Custody on “Sabbath Keeping”. (Explore Steve’s book, Soul Custody here: https://www.pottersinn.com/bookstore/soul-custody).
2. The chapter in Inside Job on “The Leader’s Rhythm”. (Explore Steve’s book, Inside Job here: https://www.pottersinn.com/bookstore/inside-job)
3. Soul Care 101. In this new and exciting series, Gwen offers two key and important lessons on Sabbath as God’s design for our Dilemma. This can be streamed or you can purchase the DVDs and it comes with a resource book that is wonderful to dig deeper (See Soul Care 101 here: https://www.pottersinn.com/bookstore/soul-care-101-dvd ).