Living Fully Present

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. –Exodus 20:8-10

When my kids were young, they had a habit. When they wanted to get my attention, they would keep asking the same question until they believed they had my attention.

My wife once asked me, “Do you know why the kids do that? Because sometimes they have to ask repeatedly in order to bring you back from wherever you are – to be fully here and not somewhere else.”

Ever been there? Ever been physically in one place, but your mind is somewhere else? It’s as if your mind is working overtime on something elsewhere, somewhere supposedly “important.”

I think God knows that we are wired this way. In fact, I believe that this is exactly the reason God commanded His people to remember and celebrate the Sabbath, keeping it as a central part of the sacred rhythm of life.

In Jewish thinking, the Sabbath was a gift, not a burden. It was a gift of God; a reminder that our lives are not defined by what we do, or what we produce, but rather who we are and who we are becoming. The Sabbath was a 24-hour period set aside where nothing is urgent, nothing is taking you “somewhere else.” It was a 24-hour period where you lived fully present, fully invested in the here and now, in this moment. It was a day where you did not live in the past, or in the future, but called to live within this breath, and then the next.

You see, this is the reason God commanded His people not to work on the Sabbath. He knows how we are wired. God knows that we often define ourselves by what we accomplish. Yet the Sabbath was a gift that reminded His people that they are not valued for what they produce, they are not worthy because of a title. On the Sabbath, all were equal. Accomplishment was prohibited. The only thing that mattered was being reminded that your worth comes from God, that you are His. Central to the day was unplugging from the rhythm of the other six days, and finding a day where one could be fully connected with the Creator.

This was the nature of the Sabbath. Gift, not burden.

Which leads us to all sorts of questions, does it not? Where do you find your worth? Is the rhythm of your life sustainable? Is it life-giving or life-draining?

You see… Sabbath is not a luxury. It is not a burden, something that gets in the way of “life.” Sabbath is a sacred, life-giving rhythm. It is essential to creation, to re-creation. It is a sacred space to be entered into…a space where we slow down, reflect, and remember. It is a place where we can breathe. Be. Still. Celebrate. Connect. Unplug. Refresh. Restore. Live fully present.

What kind of changes do you need to make to truly live Sabbath rhythm?

Genesis 1:31-2:3; Exodus 20:8-11; 24:12; 31:17

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Mike DeVries

Mike DeVries is a husband, father and a veteran pastor and youth pastor. He is an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University in the School of Theology.

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