God has a present for you, but you won't find it wrapped and tied with a bow. It is his gift of the Sabbath, one day in seven that he has designed to bring order to your private world.
The Sabbath is a pause that brings power, a surrender that brings victory, a stop that makes life go. The blessing of Sabbath rest is evident in the life of William Wilberforce, the man responsible for ending the slave trade in Great Britain.
Wilberforce was a member of the British Parliament in 1801 when he was rumored to be considered for a cabinet post on Lord Addington's leadership team. This prospect was both exciting and exhausting for Wilberforce who was becoming preoccupied with the possibility.
Ambition can be crippling, and Wilberforce had no desire to walk with a limp.
God used the Sabbath to put life in perspective. Gordon MacDonald notes that the Christian politician's journal tells the story best. At the end of a week in which he was consumed with thoughts and temptations to politic for position, Wilberforce wrote:
Wilberforce recognized the power of the Sabbath to put his life into proper perspective. He repeated this theme in a letter to his friend, Henry Bankes twenty years later:
I am persuaded that to withdraw the mind one day in seven from its ordinary trains of thought and passion, and to occupy it in contemplating subjects of a higher order, which by their magnitude make worldly interests shrink into littleness, has the happiest effect on the intellectual and moral system. It gives us back on the Monday to the contemplation of our week-day business cooled and quieted, and it is to be hoped with resentments abated and prejudices softened.
Wilberforce reminds me that I go farther when I stop for the Sabbath. Why? Because God blessed the Sabbath day:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work . . . . For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11 ESV
Ambition is stunted when God looms large. We see life in its proper perspective and we relax. This is a gift from God that comes with Sabbath.
Don't lose that gift this weekend. Remember the Sabbath! Worship with the family of God is a necessary part of God's good gift.
THIS SUNDAY AT SRC: We are continuing our new series, A Better Kind Of Life: 5 Daily Habits That Change Everything. This week is Habit #2 -- Starting Your Day Right. God has a plan to help you start your day right. We're not talking about one more thing to tack on to your already overloaded “To Do” list but THE one thing that will help you tackle those “To Dos” with power, peace, and a great attitude.
- "Sunday brought the cure" from Gordon MacDonald. Ordering Your Private World. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2003). Page 191.
- MacDonald quotes Garth lean, God's Politician (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1980), page 89. 2 MacDonald. Ordering Your Private World, page 89.
- "I am persuaded . . ." from William Hague's William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc. 2007). Page 476.