This is a guest post by Josh Stringer. Josh does a good job below telling you who he is, so there’s not much more that I can say here. Our paths have crossed in some odd places. His family and my wife’s family grew up together and are good friends. We worked together (briefly) at the same hardware store. We attended the same church together (see wife comment above.)And he has taken me to school in fantasy football this last season.
Josh and I have gotten closer this past year even though he is away in Kentucky. I’ve enjoyed it and am happy to count Josh a friend. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for he and Shana. Thanks Josh for taking the time on this, I know it was time consuming. I appreciate it a ton.
By the way, here is a sermon that he recently preached at Christ Church of Metro Atlanta titled Thinking Forward as a Church Community.
Oops… one other thing. Josh has a blog too. Here. He and Shana blog here.
Its rather strange writing for someone else’s blog. I guess its kind of like housesitting. Anyway, I asked Andy what he wanted me to write about so he gave me a little direction – here goes…
(Andy here, I really did give Josh freedom to write about whatever he wanted. I find it interesting the topic he chose, because I’ve got a post that I’ve been working on titled “Dear Mr. and Mrs Pew Sitter” that I’ve been holding onto for a while. I might have to finish that one soon after reading this in full.)
I’ve been a husband to Shana for over 5 years. I’m a new dad (my son Truett is 5 months old). I’m a full-time employee. I’m a full-time student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I’m a part-time volunteer student minister at Crossing Church. Last semester I almost lost my mind. Really. There were too many balls in the air. Too much stuff on my plate. Too much insert your cute colloquial phrase here. Truett was born on a Sunday and classes (including Greek) started on Tuesday and it was all down hill from there. Literally. I was so busy I had no time for real relationships. I barely had time for my wife and son. I quit eating healthy. I quit going to the gym. Work was hectic. School was difficult. I realize that there are plenty of people in this world, perhaps readers of this blog who lead much busier lives than I do, but this was all new to me.
I won’t go into details of the entire semester but I was sinking fast with no rope to grab on to. So what did I do? Simple (well, not so simple). What are you supposed to do when you are caught in the trappings of sin? Repent. Sin? How was all of that sinful?
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, [Jesus] was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3-4
I was attempting to live by bread alone. Along time ago God gave us a reminder in the rhythm of creation that man was not to live by bread alone. This rhythm is something that God modeled for us on the seventh day of creation. He ceased. He rested. He had Sabbath (or, he Sabbathed, but that shows up on spell check). Depending on your view of the creation account the idea of Sabbath can mean different things. However, regardless of your view, we can all agree that God established the Sabbath from the very beginning (well before the Law was given which will be important in a minute).
This idea is repeated again in Exodus 20. The fourth commandment is to remember the Sabbath and keep it set apart (holy). “This command is grounded in the way that it imitates the Lord’s pattern in creation. Every aspect of Israel’s life is to reflect that people belong to the Lord and are sustained by his sovereign hand. The weekly pattern of work and rest is to be a regular and essential part of this.” (ESV Study Bible notes on Ex. 20:8-11)
So, in my story, I was living in a way that I was not trusting in the sustaining, sovereign hand of the Lord. I was not following God’s pattern of work and rest. No wonder I was losing it. I wasn’t resting. More than that I wasn’t resting in God. Mark 2:27 tells us that God made the Sabbath specifically for us. Now, I’m not a Sabbatarian. And depending on your view of the Law in relationship to the New Testament, you’re probably not either. Even though the Sabbath is the only commandment not repeated in the NT, the principle of Sabbath is exemplified in the NT and should be taken seriously. Why? Because God established it before the Law and didn’t need to repeat it because its a creational act.
I wasn’t taking it seriously. In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar. So a good question to ask yourself is, “When do I rest?” When do you stop and realize that work is never going to cease, so at some point you must cease from work? (Andy here: Oooh that’s stepping on my toes a bit) Remember, we weren’t designed to live on bread alone. Another way to say it – we weren’t designed to live in our own strength. I’d bet that we sin in this area as much or more than any other and we don’t even realize it.
Moving forward, here’s my plan: Every Wednesday is going to be my (and my family’s) Sabbath. Sunday is probably a good day for most people because it usually begins with worship and most people don’t work on Sunday’s. For some of you, Sunday is the farthest thing from Sabbath because your church programs you to death. And if you serve in a ministry, between all of the meetings and, well, meetings, you might be more tired after a Sunday than you are on a Thursday. The point is to find a time of Sabbath that works for you. I don’t believe that there’s some magical day that should be the Sabbath. In the OT it would have been Saturday. Maybe that works for you. This semester Wednesday works for me.
Our Wednesday’s will be very low media days. If we do media in our house we’ll do it together. We will spend very little time online. Wednesday’s will be spent being refreshed by the Word. I think Shana and I are going to work through a book of the Bible every few weeks. We’ll spend time in family worship and doing things that breath life into our family and into us individually. That might mean a walk in the park, playing games, or taking a nap. It will certainly be a day where things cease. Things will probably come up – school work, etc. – we won’t be legalistic about it, but we will guard our Sabbath day.
When will yours be? Are you committing the sin of busy?
Also search iTunes Podcasts for these messages by Darrin Patrick and Matt Chandler