We have a blender at home that is truly amazing. We can put almost anything in there and get a smoothie out of it: unpeeled fruit, raw vegetables, spare car parts… the possibilities are endless. The motor is so powerful that you have to be careful not to turn it on at full speed. You have to start on the lowest setting and work your way up, or else the thing might just launch into the stratosphere.
Sometimes I feel like life is a bit like my blender. I throw in a full serving of fatherhood and husbanding, a healthy dose of ministry, a smattering of soccer coaching, a few spoonfulls of extended family, a smidge of exercise, and you’ve got a life smoothie. Oh, and don’t forget to add an undetermined cup of sickness to make it interesting. Sometimes the blender is on low, but there are other seasons when it feels like someone just turned it up to the speed of the chipper my tree trimmer uses. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.” One way I know I’m too busy is that when people actually say to me, “I know you’re busy, but do you have time to get together?” When I’m projecting busyness to everyone around me, that’s a sign I need to slow the blender down or manage my ingredients better. Realistically we all know we are busy people, and it often feels like there is nothing we can remove from our schedules. So with all our packed calendars, how do we manage to cultivate real communion with God, true fellowship with His people and significant ministry to those around us? Hmm, sounds like “worship God, live in community, and serve our world.” Three simple things that may in fact help us decide what is important and what is not! There are many different ways to answer this question, but for this post let’s just think about one thing you can do for starters, one thing God has given to help you manage the blender well. He has given you the Lord’s Day. Sundays have perhaps been the most significant way I’ve found that God has helped me not lose my sanity.
But before we go there and unwittingly turn this into a handy list of time management skills, remember our Savior first. You see, Jesus himself was busy – perhaps more busy than we would ever be. He was constantly teaching, healing, meeting with people, preaching from city to city and in general doing His Father’s work. He was extremely busy, but He seemed to always have time for people and seemed to be swimming in a life of prayer. Granted, He was the divine Son of God, so one thing He never allowed to drain his time was the entrapment of sin. But He dealt with the same temptations we do – temptations to waste and misuse time, temptations to engage in sinful activities, and temptations to say yes to the wrong things. But what gave His life clarity was the perfect focus concerning His mission. We must always remember that we have a Savior who lived His days with perfect balance of communion with the father, fellowship with His disciples and ministry to the world. Even in the end, when He hung on the cross, it was all according to the perfect plan and mission laid out for Him. Praise God for a Savior who has lived His life perfectly and died for our failures in this area! The grace we have received from Him is to be a constant fountain for us to return to and be quenched. Our busyness often hinders us from feasting on the Gospel.
The Lord’s Day is one of God's chief means to feast on the good news. When you see it this way, it then becomes a gift of His grace rather than another event on the calendar. We need our Sundays not just as a break from our schedules, but as a full day to drink from the waters of divine mercy. It is the day God has provided so we can see and savor Jesus’ beauty and love for us! God has given you a day where you don’t have to be ruled by your to-do list and your event calendar. Have you ever tried to add another event to your calendar only to have siri respond “You already have five overlapping appointments then. Are you sure you want to schedule this meeting?” If so, then the Lord’s Day is God’s rest from the blender. Imagine one whole day in seven where the sole focus is on God. We rise to worship God in the morning; God speaks to us and renews His covenant to us in worship and shows us again His love poured out through the cross of Christ. On the Sabbath we get the joy of looking forward to our eternal rest when we will be at home with the Lord forever. God gives us the gift of His people: we can be together, singing, praying enjoying one another, learning together (the reason for Sunday School!). One of the sweetest parts of the Lord’s Day for me is getting to be with God’s people, sharing a meal on a Lord’s Day afternoon or evening. Now don’t get me wrong: As a pastor, Sunday is my busiest day of the week. When the Lord’s Day is over, I’m tired! Some Sundays aren’t as full, so I take a nap (without guilt – it is a day of rest!). But this day is also the sweetest for my soul! The opportunity is there for me to focus on God, His Word and His people without the pressures that invade Monday through Saturday. Often God even uses the Lord’s Day as an opportunity to share the Gospel with unbelievers too. What better day than Sunday to reach out to someone who doesn’t know Christ?
Our calendars are all full – perhaps so full that other important things are getting lost. Deciding what is important and needful in our lives is a difficult question. But God knows you need rest, and He has given you a day where you don’t have to say “yes” to those things. One entire day in seven is free for the good of your soul. If you are like me and often feel trapped by the calendar, then let me encourage you to clear away the things that drain the glory and joy from the Sabbath. It may become the pinnacle of your week, the way God designed it to be.
Looking forward to our eternal rest –