While I was on holidays I went to a Christian bookshop where Mark Buchanan’s latest book was on sale and since I am a big fan of Mark Buchanan I bought it. Its full title is: The rest of God : restoring your soul by restoring Sabbath. Remarkably this book is very similar to the previous book I read, The Power of Full Engagement. The Rest of God is coming from the spiritual point of view of resting whereas The Power of Full Engagement is coming from a scientific point of view but both are arriving at a remarkably similar conclusion.
Buchanan looks at various aspects of the Sabbath and how it applies to us today. The world has often glorified the workaholic whereas there is an increasing body of scientific evidence to suggest we actually get more done when we take regular breaks. Buchanan points out that it takes faith to rest. We temporarily let go of our responsibilities which reminds us that we are not in charge of running the universe. It reminds us that there are so many things we cannot control and that God can manage without us.
Buchanan also looks at the Bible’s instruction to cease work one day a week. The Bible does not define in much detail the word, “work”. Perhaps in the culture it was written there was no need to explain it but in our world the word “work” means different things to different people. For some gardening is work, for others it is leisure. For some sport is work, for others it is leisure. For some reading is work, for me it is leisure.
Jesus is our example. He took regular breaks. He never appeared rushed or hassled. He was not pressed into doing what other people expected (Mark 1:36-38). He brought health and wholeness on the Sabbath.
So what does one actually do when one takes a Sabbath rest? Buchanan advice is: “Stop doing what you ought to do. There are six days to do what you ought. … Cease from what is necessary. Embrace that which gives life.”
Here is a quote from the concluding stages of the book:
Sabbath was made for man. It was something God prepared long ago, inscribed into the very order of creation: a day when all the other days loosed their grip. They were forced to. It’s a day that God intended to fuss over us, not we over it. It was designed to protect us, pay tribute to us, coddle us, in all our create frailty and God-imprinted beauty and hard-won liberty, in our status as men and women whom God made in his own image and freed by his own hand and own blood. It is a father’s gift to indulge his children. Pg. 220