Because we are Americans we dream of Disneyland vacations or the Outer Banks. We pack our favorite, most comfortable clothes and we charge the camera battery. We schedule each day of our vacation to the minute, so we can take full advantage of our time out of the rigor of the office or classroom. We want to kick back, relax, take it as it comes, but usually the kids are arguing and Dad is grumbling and Mom is fried before we're out of the driveway. This is what happens when the destination is the point and not the journey.
I've never had a vacation in my adult life. Never.
I've never gone somewhere for the purpose of vacationing. I've never booked a superfluous ticket or spent my week hanging out at the beach. The closest thing to a vacation I ever had growing up was at a Swiss Chalet nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont and those memories are fond and rich, but it was only one week and I was 13.
For the New Testament Christian, life is, in some ways, one long sabbath in the same direction. Jesus hid when the crowds pushed in and rested at that first communion table, yes, He knew to get away, but the principle of the sabbath rest is that we would have it and have it more fully. Abundantly. Every day.
A week ago I got on a plane with admonitions from friends to rest and sabbath, but this week has been nothing but a marathon. There have been pockets of rest, but in the back of my mind there have been tasks piling up. There were programs to be designed and printed, cut out and finished, flowers to be hunted down and picked up from florists, bouquets to be assembled, a house to be cleaned, a bedroom to be set up, a reception hall to be decorated, seating charts to be finalized, and a bride to keep unencumbered by the small details.
Never once did I feel beyond myself or exhausted by the small things. Each moment was spent blessing someone I love in preparation for her wedding day. It was pure joy.
This, I think, is what our Sabbaths are supposed to be. Great attention to small things in preparation for that final wedding feast. Moments, days, minutes, hours, years spent up to our elbows in details that delight the heart of God and never feel like a burden to us.
And I don't know what that is, friend, I can't tell you how to Sabbath well and what vacation will bring you and Him the most Joy. I would never choose a Disneyland vacation, give me instead a cabin in the mountains.
But I know this: to be stayed on Him is rest. To be centered and focused and driven and journeying toward Him is Sabbath. It is the longest Sabbath and there may be times where we find ourselves fallen off the track, scrambling to find our rest in the gospel again, to make our work a joy and not a burden. There may be times when we do need to run away, hide until that joy is found and is abundant.
But to rest. To truly rest and find that rest amid the details of life, the work, the job, the people, the family, the duties, the dishwater and the debts--to rest in what is already finished. To find our ultimate peace in the confidence that we are right where we are meant to be every day, that God is not tracking vacation days or tallying the allotment. He's set it all before us, the earth our playground, people our delight, and duties our joy.
Rest in that.