I was trying to figure out which angle I’d tackle the topic of Sabbath rest with, for what is now my follow-up article off my first one (linked here), and did a little bit of reflection on the proactive action/process itself of figuring out what to write.
It led me to thinking that as long as I was doing something to write this article, I would be playing an active role towards achieving some kind of accomplishment. That I would be exercising my agency and performing an act that was getting me closer to a desired outcome. Two familiar thoughts surfaced:
That we struggle with ideas of inaction because of how we have continually conditioned ourselves to avoid it, and that any amount and any type of action would be better than nothing.
That we ultimately crave control – in turn, we create an idol out of our busyness and so love any opportunity to be lord of our own lives, dictating how things turn out.
I’m now thinking – could it be that we are bad at Sabbath due to a struggle to let go of our ability for action, because we think that Sabbath is a surrendering of our time, effort, and energy that would otherwise be put towards something productive? And that we desperately cling to our proactive inclinations because we ultimately don’t want to relinquish control over our own lives to, instead, sit at God’s feet?
What I think might have developed is a false dichotomization of productive action versus time merely discarded. That our generation seems to have developed this idea that, if we aren’t doing something “value adding” to our daily, secular lives, we should be relinquishing all control to Sabbath to sit and yield passively.
This is where I want to flip the narrative a bit and instead propose that Sabbath was always a proactive act. God rested in Genesis. Jesus left the crowds to be with The Father. The church is called to pause, worship, and center back in on God.
Sabbath was always a proactive act. God rested in Genesis. Jesus left the crowds to be with The Father. The church is called to pause, worship, and center back in on God.
Time in rest and proactiveness do not have to be mutually exclusive. What if instead of seeing Sabbath as a lazy Sunday during which time is to be discarded, we were to view it as the proactive margin founded in rest, and to be spent in communion with The Father?
What if we proactively sought rest that, while often may look like inaction, is really for us to be reminded of the God through whom all things are accomplished? Perhaps then we can sit still and have peace, knowing that what is seemingly inaction is actually a proactive choice to see how God works with, and in spite of, our most earnest efforts.
Perhaps then we can sit still and have peace, knowing that what is seemingly inaction is actually a proactive choice to see how God works with, and in spite of, our most earnest efforts.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4.9-11) [emphasis added]