Meditation Thought: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
The sabbath was made for man to have a time of renewal – of opportunity to come to know God better, to have a chance to recuperate physically, to be strengthened spiritually, and to be inspired mentally.
To understand the purpose of the sabbath is a necessity before it can become what God intended it to be.
To make the sabbath a time of concentration upon ceremony rather than on celebration of God’s creative love and care is to waste it, making the very intended healing invalid. For ‘healing’ it is to be: the weary body, the confused and frenetic mind, the listless spirit are all brought to health and wholeness through this ‘treatment’ of a change in pace: a time when, with clear conscience, one can – and should – postpone the ordinary daily routine. Some tasks are necessary for making even the sabbath comfortable, and some tasks are chosen because to neglect them would be distressing – but the point is that the sabbath should be a state of mind: an attitude of setting time aside to be aware of God, to become closer to God and man, to be renewed and refreshed.
All of this is the help ourselves: to be a slave to ‘rules’ to the point of not allowing the Spirit to guide us in how to have the sabbath be the rejuvenating force that it is meant to be, is to deny that we are to be open to the Lord’s constant creative teaching and care. This is the message for which Jesus came: the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
God created the sabbath as a merciful gesture for people not for the purpose of burdening them.
But for us to ignore His message – either by rejecting the necessity of a sabbath by rejecting God as our Source and Sustainer or by distorting the sabbath by misunderstanding God’s purpose of creating it, is to thwart God’s will: His will is for us to be in close fellowship with Himself. This is possible only as we are actively seeking to enhance this fellowship through being willing to learn what He would teach us.