Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Grace of Doing Nothing

"This will be pretty scary at first for most of us... The command ['Keep the Sabbath holy'] is 'Do no work.' Just make space... Learn that you don't have to do to be. Accept the grace of doing nothing. Stay with it until you stop jerking and squirming." -Dallas Willard, pg 36 of The Great Omission

This idea of doing nothing flies in the face of the productive American mindset. "I've just gotta get stuff done." Well, frankly, you don't. There will ALWAYS be more work to do. So God graciously commands us to stop work every week. He intended the Sabbath to restore us.

A whole day of rest. No work. Only relationship, rest and restoration. We must discipline ourselves (counter to our productive instincts) to keep the Sabbath day set apart for extending ourselves the grace of doing nothing. Let us be careful not to fill "rest day"with tiring activities, even activities deemed sacred.


  1. Kirby, great picture. Definitely looks like a restful spot.

    I would like to add to your point one more. But first, I think we should read what God said about the Sabbath.

    Exodus 20:8 says, "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..."

    I believe you are correct in saying that God made it clear that the 7th day is a day of rest-for the whole familiy. And it is good to just be. But it seems to me that there is a condition that goes with it. We are to keep the day holy. It's a day to the Lord your God.

    My point is, on the resting day, we need to remember who gave us the day of rest. And that may look different for everyone. But, the agenda is the same, keep it holy.

  2. Just like everyone else, I have presuppositions when I post to my blog. Most people I have invited to read it (although not all) begin from similar presuppositions. I presuppose (or, assume) that the only source of restoration we can find is in God Himself. So when I say Rest Day is for “relationship, rest and restoration” I assume that we welcome God's intimate involvement. The day is for being with Him and celebrating Him with those we love.

    I do not mean to imply that we can enjoy resting and leave God out of the picture. My reference to “sacred activities” was a bit inflammatory. But I find that many people see it as their duty or obligation to serve God on Sundays by filling them up with church-related activities. I do not believe those activities are bad, but commitment to them can rob the restfulness from the day. I read a little “Texan 10 Commandments” the other day and for the Sabbath it said “Git to yer Sunday meetin’.” I think that is a common misunderstanding of the commandment about Sabbath rest. Many times, (and I’ve been there myself before) the goin’ to church can become a part of the bein’ busy. I find that most people I meet are simply tired and desperately in need of rest.

    The intention of my blog post was to encourage people to reconsider how they keep the Sabbath Day holy by evaluating whether or not they are rested at the end of the day.

  3. Hey, Kirby! Being from the same family, I presupposed your presuppostion. :-)

    I couldn't agree more on the need for more being and less doing, and taking one day a week to do that would be a really good, Biblical (Old Testament) practice. We would do well, though, to realize that the 7th day is actually Saturday. Gittin' to yer Sunday meetin' is more of a New Testament concept (prior to the Texan concept), and unquestionably commanded in Hebrews 10:25.

    Do we need to rest and reconnect with our families? Absolutely! But we also need to meet regularly with other Believers for corporate worship and to encourage one another. That's so much more than "busy-work"!

  4. P.S. - Isn't someone having a birthday today?? Happy Birthday, Kirby!! :-) Love you! AT