Devotional Reading: Mark 2: 23-27
Text: Jesus said to them, “The sabbath was made for man not man for the sabbath. ” (v. 27)
This text is one of my favorite teachings of Jesus.
Sometimes rules, regulations and laws get in the way of doing Kingdom work. Sometimes they create more injustice than they prevent. Sometimes they are a means to maintain an unjust reality. And sometimes I think that we simply make rules and laws to avoid the hard work of using the gray matter God placed between our ears.
Jesus was criticized, variously, for feeding the hungry, healing a person with a crippled hand and giving sight to the blind on the sabbath. His critics cited Exodus 20:8–Remember the sabbath and keep it holy. In doing so they forgot why God created a sabbath. God made the sabbath for us, not us for the sabbath. There has to be a balance in our lives between labor and rest otherwise we experience burnout, which neither glorifies God nor is beneficial to anyone.
Human need can present itself at the most inopportune times. Our challenge is what I call “the goose that laid the golden egg syndrome.” We need to be productive but we also need to be mindful of our limits. I see us–myself included–getting this wrong more often than not.
Perhaps the most important prayer to the work of the Kingdom is not the believer’s prayer but the serenity prayer. Here’s a challenge: Begin each day this coming week with the serenity prayer. Then, at the end of the day take five minutes to reflect upon the day and write down an insight or two. See if you don’t become a better follower of Jesus.
Serenity Prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.