There are moments in life when we are reminded how important it is for us to "love our neighbors as we love ourselves." In addition to this being a command of Jesus, and as much as it is instructive, it is simultaneously descriptive of how we are to be in the world. God is love and if we are created in the image of God, then one of the ways we should be able to best describe ourselves is love. We should not settle for practicing love as an intellectual or purely emotional strategy or expression. On the contrary, we must embody love as we live, move, and have our being in Love. And when we love in this way, we cannot help but to desire God's very best for everyone because we love everyone. I offer this reflection in light of our scripture for today.
12 Keep the Sabbath day and treat it as holy, exactly as the Lord your God commanded: 13 Six days you may work and do all your tasks,14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That’s why the Lord your God commands you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
When you love others as you love yourself, then you will not hesitate to invite them to obey and embrace the gift of Sabbath that the Lord has already given to us all. The Lord's instruction was very specific regarding treating the Sabbath day as holy. They were not to do any work on the seventh day. For six days they were permitted to work and do all of their tasks, but the seventh day was set apart for the kind of rest that the Lord knew they needed. And in order to keep the people from discriminating between who should have a Sabbath and who should not, I believe in the wisdom of the Lord, the command had to include the details as outlined in verse 14. After all, God knows God's people. "Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you." Everybody gets to rest and no one can rightfully hinder another from doing so.
Friends, I appreciate this illustration in the text. I appreciate that the Lord would explicitly outline who could take advantage of this gift. This is really good to me because as I think beyond Sabbath and everything that the Lord has graciously given and mercifully withheld, I am so glad that I am included in the benefit of every promise. Furthermore, I also feel compelled to inform and invite others to live into the promises of God as well. Sabbath is not just for me. Sabbath is not just for you. Sabbath is for everyone says the Lord. And just in case you might want to block the blessing of Sabbath from others, don't forget where you came from! "Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm." In other words, do not hold the current status of any person against them when it comes to Sabbath. The Sabbath is for everyone, including and in spite of you.
So, BlogFam, Remember this: SABBATH IS FOR EVERYONE! We all need rest. We all need to press pause every now and again. We all need to allow each other the space to rest, to experience the promises and favor of God, all because of love...
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!