Work or Worship?
“Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?' But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, 'Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?' And they could not answer Him regarding these things.” Luke 14: 1-6
Another sabbath and another day to learn as usual from what God has to reveal to my heart. But on this day, my day is again set apart as another day where I am to be on alert as to what God wants me to add to the pile of evidence of what sabbath rest is really all about, from His perspective. This is another day to log into my on-going sabbath experiment.
I have to say, today was an interesting day. The planning for this day began a few weeks ago when I was asked by a fellow church member if we could host a potluck at our home for a small group we are part of. So, that event was added to the calendar. Additionally, I had the county fair to reckon with all week which came to an end today. Finally, to top all of the day's events off, I also sang on the worship team this morning and sang a solo. I would have to say that after 4 days of campaigning, 2 weeks of diligently practicing my solo, and a couple days of trying to at least keep my house presentable, I was definitely in need of a rest, but alas there were all of the commitments I had in place for the day.
The question I was left to ponder today was, “Can I find rest amidst all of the things I have pressing in on me today?” And, “Can I learn a greater lesson about sabbath rest amidst all of these activities?”, “Can I let go of being at the fair today which would be my last great opportunity to campaign before the fall?”, and “Will I have the time and energy to blog at the end of the day?” Well, as God has promised to always be faithful in helping me to write every day this year, He was faithful to lead me to a lesson for the day. Below I have written about what God has taught me today:
As you can see by the verses above, Jesus healed a man on the sabbath. Afterward though, he asked the observers around Him if they were so strict to their own sabbath law that they would not work to take something of great value (a donkey or ox) out of a pit if it had fallen in. Of course Jesus knew the answer they would have to give would be against their code of sabbath conduct, to walk away from an animals in its plight would not be giving glory to the giver of life and yet working on the sabbath would not give glory to God as they had prescribed – they were left without an answer.
The issue of the sabbath that Jesus was addressing that day had to do with the conflict that I think many of us wrestle with, “What is the dividing line between worship and work?” The conclusion I have come to after really praying and pondering through my day regarding this questions, is that the two can not just be put up as category heads with defined and proper items categorized in lists below them.
For one person, work could involve an activity that another person could consider an act of worship, or even for that same person on a different day the same could be true. I think what it really boils down to is that each person must consider his or her activities before the Lord and determine in their heart if they are doing the activity to advance their own agenda or rather the agenda of the Lord.
In thinking about today's choices, if I would have gone to the fair and not hosted the potluck, that would have been a self serving choice. Really, if I would have let go of any of the things I knew God had placed in my life today and pursued more opportunities to plug my name at the fair I would have not experienced the ability to rest even more in God's ability to provide for me in that area. Did I see His provision for me today in that area? Yes and no, but no matter what I can see with my eyes, my faith knows that what I can't see holds treasures of even greater value.
I made the choice to worship and rest in what God could do for me today as I trusted Him over the choice to work hard on my own to advance my own interests and get tangible results I could rest in apart from God. And, in looking back on my day, the lesson I have to take away is this: God works out even greater things in my life when I choose to walk away from them and instead choose to worship Him and leave the work in His hands for a sabbath day of worship filled rest.