The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
Paul’s words in Romans 14:5-8 and Col 2:16-23 still ring true today: Don’t let anyone judge you with respect to the Sabbath; some may practice it, others may not; let each person do so by faith and as unto the Lord. He also instructed the Corinthians to “be careful that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to [others].” (1 Cor 8:9) For me, however, the act of leaving the daily work grind and resting before the Lord one day out of seven is a priceless and necessary gift from God that I ignore at my own peril.
I’ve read several book’s about the Christian Sabbath, each with a unique thought to contribute to my understanding on this teaching. This book is easily understood by most believers, and it’s the most versatile one that I’ve read on this subject –
it’s written by a pastor and professor, a husband and father, and a good writer; it’s also filled with great theology that’s applied to real-life situations. My wife and I read a chapter a week, coming together on our day of rest/worship to discuss it but also live out the principles found within it.
What are Buchanan’s thoughts on the matter?
Sabbath allows us to live more fully into our status as free people, people released from the grueling, incessant demands of taskmasters.
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The Christian Sabbath: a day of rest to engage uniquely with the God of life and all that gives life & refreshment; a day of reconnection, remembrance, revival, refreshment, and refocusing; a holy day, a separate “24 hour period” of the week, given to Christ’s followers that they might live a holy, rest-filled life. The Sabbath involves stopping the “to do list” and the Taskmaster’s drumbeat of “it’s never enough.” Further, for me and my family, the tone of my Sabbath is set by the Lord of the Sabbath, who went about doing good, even on the Sabbath, and who desires mercy not sacrifice. Matthew 12:7-12; Acts 10:38.
During Jesus’ day, the Sabbath, which “was meant to serve people, ended up demanding tribute from them” (219); the heavy religious yoke of their day had made their lives weary and burdened (Matt 11:28). Naturally, Jesus came against such a system, which made the religious leaders, who were really protecting their systems of power, conclude that Jesus’ Sabbath-keeping was really Sabbath-breaking. Ha! “People who knew nothing of rest, accused a man whose every word and gesture came from rest.” (219)
Jesus’ breaking of the religious rules of his day was actually his keeping of God’s “rule” of love and life that allowed his followers to enter The Rest of God. I urge you to enter Mark’s thoughts on this topic; they may very well help you in your everyday walk with Christ.