Thursday, December 10, 2009
Current Study: Advent
Today’s Topic: Do Nothing Day!
Scripture Reading: Exodus 16:29 …realize that the Sabbath is the LORD’s gift to you.
Well, wasn’t that fun? I’m referring to the blizzard of Tuesday night and Wednesday. It wasn’t as bad here in Eau Claire as they thought it would be, but it still caused a lot of problems. I wonder how our friends in LaCrosse are fairing? I think they got it a lot worse down there.
Twenty-four hours ago I was putting on all of my winter outdoor gear and getting ready to start up the snow blower for the first time. Two hours later I shut it off. I wasn’t totally done, but at least the driveway and front sidewalk to the house were clear. Living out in the country as I do with an open exposure to the north I get some pretty impressive drifts. I really thought it would be worse than it was – only two sections were over three feet deep. The biggest issue is always along the road. I wait until the plow comes by, and yesterday there was a 3-4 foot bank of snow to remove. I’m sure some of you had it worse.
The reason I tell you all of this is for one very simple reason – I really needed that day off. I stayed at home all day. I played magic blanket for hours with two of my grandchildren (ask Alyssa). I finished the snow blowing, filled the bird feeders, and watched a couple of hunting shows on television. I went to bed at 9:30 and slept until 6:15. What a gift yesterday was from our great and gracious God.
As I was out working on the snow yesterday morning, my heart was filled with joy. I didn’t have an inkling of complaining enter my mind. The air was brisk. The snow was cold as it sprayed refreshment on my face as I worked. I watched the wind swirl the snow up and over my house in angelic designs. I was reminded of the words of Jesus when He said, “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” I wondered how many people around the world would be brought to new birth by the Spirit of God during the time I was spending moving snow drifts.
This morning, as I shoveled by hand the dusting of snow we received overnight, I felt refreshed. I stopped for a moment and thanked God for the gift of a day off, and made a commitment to be more consistent about taking them. Don’t get me wrong, I take days off, but always with the intention of doing something. Yesterday made me realize how important a total Sabbath day of rest is. God said we should take one every seventh day. I am far from that level of consistency, but I’m beginning to realize the significance of moving that direction.
We have become far too busy and far too crazy about planning. Even our days off have to be planned with all kinds of stuff to get done. We say we’re going to do something relaxing, but the fact that we plan it days in advance makes it seem like work when we do it. A true Sabbath day is a day of nothing. It doesn’t mean you can’t do anything, but it to be a Sabbath you must separate yourself from everything that seems like work. For me, that means separating myself from planning.
There’s no better time to put this into effect than right now, during what many of you feel is the busiest time of the year. Some of you are already shrugging your shoulders and shaking your heads in disbelief that I would even suggest such a thing. But here’s my challenge – take your calendar right now, and every seven days block off one of them. Take a black permanent marker and color the day in so you can’t write anything else in that square. Don’t even write down your recreational plans. Just plan a day of nothing. Then if you spontaneously decide to do something it will be stress free because it wasn’t planned.
I discovered yesterday the joy of such a day. I want more of them on a regular basis. I am sure you do too.