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Room for Rest

On Sunday, I kicked off the Jesus Stories series with a look at the story of Jesus and the man with a withered hand.  On the surface, the story seems to be another story of Jesus healing a man with a great need, but the story goes deeper.  The healing is a part of a bigger story. The story of our need for rest and the right way to do it in Jesus.

In Matthew 12, controversy swirled around the Sabbath and what Jesus and His disciples could or couldn't do on a day that God set aside as a day of rest. Was it unlawful to eat grain in the field? Would it be wrong if Jesus "worked" by healing a man on the Sabbath? When Jesus healed the man's hand, He showed that people matter every day and that it is always right to act with love and compassion. He also taught that He, Jesus, is the Lord of the Sabbath!  

As followers of Jesus, what is our "so what?" in this story? First, it is never wrong to do what is right. You may feel manipulated or like you are being set up. Don't let that stop you from doing what is right. These men were trying to trap Jesus, but that didn't stop Him from being who He is and doing what He does.

Second, we need to remember the words of Jesus in Mark 2:27 regarding the Sabbath:  27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath is more than just a law to keep or a box to check.  The Sabbath is a day set apart by God for our good and to bring Him glory.  Should believers today set up regular rhythms of rest in our life? Yes, we should because it is best for us!

If it is best for us, what does a Sabbath look like in modern times?  Take the Sabbath Challenged:  set aside one day a week to worship God, rest in Him, and spend quality time with those that you love.  

Start by looking at the activities that fill your every day.  What do you do on a normal day - work, kid's activities, housework, doctor's appointments, hobbies, and scrolling on social? Then, subtract those "normal" things from your day of rest.

Make your plan to worship and focus on your relationship with the Lord.  Simply taking a day off isn't saying yes to the Sabbath.  Focusing your time, attention, and heart on the Lord does.   See your worship as a part of your day of rest.  Take it to the next level by using our Family Time Guides to lead yourself or your family to be with God so we become more like Jesus.  

Rest in the Lord as you worship and spend your day focusing on Him.  Resting may include physical rest but It asl must include trusting Him with our burdens, stresses, and troubles.  Jesus says that if we come to Him, learn from Him, and follow him, then He will give us rest and not just rest for our bodies but rest for our souls.

Spend quality time with those that you love.  With the hurried pace that we all live in, unhurried quality time is so needed.  If you are a parent, keep this time simple so that it doesn't become "work" or an additional burden.  Remember, this is to be a time for you to rest and be recharged together.  

As you make your plan to rest, know that no one can do this for you and frankly no one else will even consider the pace at which you are living.  You must choose to set aside time to Sabbath.   Make room for rest because you need it and it is best for you!
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