Growing up in the Carolinas, my older brother Ed and I were fascinated with 7-Eleven convenience stores. Back then it was really amazing that these stores were open seven days a week from 7 AM to 11 PM which was considered very extraordinary. In today’s world that is very less than ordinary and now there are plenty of convenience stores that are open 24/7. In fact, my fair city of Houston proudly boasts the first ever 24/7 Starbucks in the country.
I don’t know about you, but often my life has operated not too much unlike a 7-Eleven; always open for business and never time to just close the doors, take inventory, and restock. Most of us have taken on the pace of our frantic culture where we find ourselves constantly on the go, with an endless schedule of people to see, places to be, and things to do. Our focus and movement is multi-directional and we are unable to be fully present and fully available to those closest in our lives, not to mention to God Himself.
So how can we reel in the high speed chaos and find genuine peace in our lives? How do we bring some sense of order, some sense of purpose, into our lives and into our daily schedule? Thomas a Kempis said, “All men desire peace, but few desire the things that make for peace.” How true. We all want a deep rest in our soul. We all want the peace of God in our lives, but the truth is that very few of us are willing to put ourselves in a position where we can receive and incorporate that peace into our workplace, into our family life, into our relationships. How do we do that?
If we are genuinely seeking to have true peace in our lives, then we are going to have to steal, yes steal some faith from Chick-fil-A. You can go to any Chick-fil-A in the country---California, New York, Texas---no matter where they are, and when you get there, you will find a little sign on their door that says, “We close on Sundays to give our employees an opportunity to rest and spend time with their families.”
What is this company doing? They are obeying one of the most powerful and peace-giving commandments in the scripture, which for some reason or another, we in modern Christendom have dismissed outright. If we look for the original Chick-fil-A sign, we can find it in Exodus, Chapter 20: 8-10. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it Holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it, you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant or your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
So, what is this commandment all about? It is about the eternal rhythm that God set in motion when He created the Heavens and the earth. The Hebrew word “Shabbat” means to cease, to stop, to rest. It is not about a day in particular. It is not about Sunday or about Saturday. It is about the rhythm of six days of work, one day of rest and reflection.
What did Jesus tell us about the Sabbath? Jesus said the Sabbath was created for us! The Pharisees got all uptight about Jesus healing people on the Sabbath. What was Jesus saying by healing people on the Sabbath? Jesus is saying the Sabbath is about the Shalom of God. It is about peace. Wholeness. Healing. Forgiveness. Joy.
In our culture as well as in the church, we are missing out on the peace of God. So how do we begin to practice a Sabbath day. Start where you can. Start with an hour or two, try it for a half day. My family and I have the goal of a whole Sabbath day. We don’t get a full day every week but we work toward that end. Unplug from all the techno-toys---turn off your cell phone, your flat screen T.V., your CD, your DVD, your MTV. If you can start with one hour, then that is your Sabbath hour. It’s a good place to start and then work your way up each week. But find a way to experience the Sabbath. A time where you unplug and a time where you experience the joy of God and the joy of friends and family, of food and fun.
So steal some faith from Chick-fil-A. Practice the Sabbath. It’s how we put ourselves in the position where God can give us His peace, His Truth, His plans, His power in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need Him. I desperately need this Sabbath peace in my life.