Make Room for Sabbath Margin
If you like this post, you should get a copy of Priscilla Shirer’s great
“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
The Sabbath is God’s invitation to step into space of margin, to enjoy all God has done and the abundant life that He wants & plans for me. Sabbath margin means finding Christ – His presence, His grace, His favor, and all His great blessings for you… and your family and descendants. You also don’t want to miss out on God’s promised “double portion”!
Sabbath is God’s GIFT to us, and was 1st introduced by our awesome God to the Israelites after he lead them out of slavery. God instructed them to collect manna daily and promised a “double portion” on the 6th day, so they could rest and enjoy Sabbath on the 7th. The goal of Sabbath is space in our life to enjoy God and enjoy our lives. Margin opens opportunities… This study by Priscilla is great and is our invitation from God for our “double portion”!
The Freedom of the Sabbath
Sabbath is a GIFT from God to experience freedom in our lives. God’s boundaries are not burdens but GIFTS – to be opened and enjoyed! Priscilla asks us if we are so comfortable and addicted to chaos and exhaustion that we cannot enjoy a break and peace when it is given to us? What are you over-doing and with “stuff” everywhere? We often excuse the things we are enslaved to. We have many resources but only one Source, and God wants us to rest and have margin. Margin opens opportunities. Where is your margin? You can tackle your calendar and living space!
The Hebrew word for Sabbath is “shabbat” which means… to cease, to stop, to pause, to come to an end. The Sabbath was a guard against the children of Israel becoming enslaved again. Remember it is OK to rest and OK to have margin!
“By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work that He had done.” Genesis 2:2 This is where the Sabbath concept is first mentioned in scripture. “Menuha” is the Hebrew word for rest. A Jewish scholar wrote, “The words: On the seventh day God finished His work (Genesis 2:2) seem to be a puzzle. We would surely expect the Bible to tell us that on the sixth day God finished His work. Obviously the ancient Rabbis concluded, there was an act of creation on the seventh day. Just as heaven and earth were created in six days, menuha was created on the Sabbath. After six days of creation, what did the universe still lack? Menuha. Came the Sabbath, came menuha, and the universe was complete.”
It took a special act of creation to bring Rest (menuha, Sabbath) into being, and the universe would be incomplete without it. What was created on the seventh day? Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose. Rest (and margin) was the capstone of creation.
The leader of the Catalyst Movement in America Brad Lomenick writes: “Margin is a powerful concept. It creates opportunities. For business, margin is one of your top priorities. Margin in business creates profits. Margin in families creates memories. Margin in our personal finances creates generosity. Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact. Margin in our lives overall creates options. Options to pursue dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow, and ultimately live life more fully.”
Priscilla and her husband Jerry intentionally mark specific days and hours into our calendar that are reserved just for “us.” These are their guardrails.
Stops Along the Sabbath Journey
Lisa, I need to end, pause, cease and step into God’s margin, or be enslaved by the devil. Resisting the flesh is the key to spiritual victory (Galatians 5:16-23). God is in control of all projects and me! Can I say “No? Enough is enough.” Sabbath is a GIFT. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly to the fullest.”
Overwork is a form of unbelief. Do we trust God? We can pull this scripture out on Mother’s Day… “You shall not do any work. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” Deut. 5:14-15
The Israelites had never been told not to work. Now they and we are told to REST in God.
Sabbath principles: Resist the urge to continue – “shabbat”… to cease, to stop, to pause, to come to an end. “Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.” Exodus 20:11
Two Boundaries for receiving manna:
- Gather every day for six days but on the seventh don’t gather… Trust in the 6th day double portion and margin. Maybe I am not getting or blocking myself because I am working on the seventh day. If I am finding nothing, then is my cue to rest in God!
- Gather enough for each day; do not gather more than needed for the day. Honor the Sabbath margin and saying “No” when appropriate shows your allegiance to God (and not to your idols). Resisting the flesh and Satan is key to spiritual victory. Excess in things, busyness, and too many choices will squeeze out enjoyment in life and squeeze out God! Live & enjoy freedom, and don’t let the devil snare you into slavery again! Listen for the rhythms of God’s grace and live according to its cadence – easy, light, full of mercy.
Exodus 31:16 specifies that “the Israelites must observe the Sabbath, CELEBRATING it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant” – to cultivate a heart & reverence for God and celebrating this great gift. An online Judaism encyclopedia says: “People who do not observe the Sabbath think of it as a day filled with stifling restrictions, or as a day of prayer like the Christian Sabbath. But to those who observe Shabbat, it is a precious gift from God, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time we can set aside our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits. Shabbat is described as a bride or queen, as in the hymn – Come my beloved, meet the Sabbath bride. It is said more than Israel has kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept Israel.”
So CELEBRATE the Sabbath and Shabbat. Boundaries are GIFTS (not burdens) to live in God’s freedom. Open yourself and your family to the miracle of Sabbath and the sixth day double portion (or in Leviticus 25:21 triple portion!). Pray for the Lord to show you how He wants you and your family to Shabbat and observe your Sabbath. Lisa, REST in God – CELEBRATE!