Week 7: "Catch Your Breath"

Catch Your Breath/Take Time out to Smell the Roses
The modern day equivalent of “You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy” can be “take time out to smell the roses”!

The Entertainer
This week, Gary Grant, who owns “The Entertainer” toy stores across the UK was interviewed about his decision to keep his shops shut on a Sunday (setting aside the Christian aspect, Sunday is an important day for families, felt it was wrong to open), and to not stock certain lines of toys which he didn’t feel comfortable selling (depite constant questions from others as to why he wouldn’t sell something so long as it made him money). Trusts that God is in charge of how he runs his business. Despite the fact that he lost licences in 7-day malls, other companies who did so have gone bust, but opening 6 days a week, he runs a viable business.  Gary says that he was making the decisions that felt right for him, but says this decision may not be the same for everyone – but was a big enough decision to make the news in Australia when his store in Somerset was visited by a reporter from the UK national press, posing as a parent wanting to buy Harry Potter toys.
Gary says: “I’m the boss, I’ll sell what I’m happy with as I’m accountable to God, and I need to work with integrity” and emphasised that we can all make a difference, whether we own a business, or are further down the chain!
Back to J John
The original plan that God made is that there would be 6 days for our regular duties, a day to focus on God. As with all the Commandments, this was designed to be a blessing rather than a burden. There is a built-in human need for balance in life, and as the Japanese have demonstrated, this is not working in our modern day society.
  • The pace of life is literally killing people. If you get burnt out, you’ll wake up and discover you’re not that bright after all.
  • When your output exceeds your input, then your upkeep will be your downfall.
  • If you have too many irons in the fire, you’re likely to put the fire out… before you know it, your spark has gone!
The term “Sabbath” derives from the Hebrew shabbat (???), “to cease”, which was first used in the Biblical account of the seventh day of Creation (Genesis 2:2-3) [Wikipedia]. Does it matter which day is the Sabbath? For historical reasons it has become a Sunday, but it makes sense to have the same day off if possible in order to meet for e.g. corporate worship. We have a responsibility to ask, even though the answer may be no!
Is this commandment optional?
You don’t think “oooo, shall I skip adultery this week?” do you, so why the sabbath?
Why is the Sabbath Holy?
  • A day to rest our bodies.
    Rest from your weekly activities and create a day that is distinctive.
    Drs say that a lot of illnesses where rest is prescribed is for those where the Sabbath is in arrears. [I’ve heard this before, but think it’s so appropriate]
    If you’re not taking the day off, you’ll not be fit to live with.
    The story of the businessman/the fisherman
  • A day to recharge our emotions.
    Told us the story of Chippie the Budgie, who was sucked up by the hoover, rinsed off under the tap, then dried with a hairdryer: Sucked in, washed up, blown over!
    How many are tired, tense and troubled?
    How many expressions are there like “I feel like resigning from the human race”?
    Take some time out to recharge in the quietness (as I did on what I keep saying is my best day out of my RTW trip: Doubtful Sound in New Zealand, where we stood still in complete silence for 5 minutes!). Psalm 23:2. Enjoy nature rather than trying to change it.
  • A day to be renewed spiritually
    We have so little time for God – our lives are so full and yet so empty.
    God says: “Be Still and Know That I am God”
    Worship renews the spirit as rest renews the body.
    Treat Sunday with delight, a
    s God’s Holy Day… and in the first part of every day, demonstrate to God that he comes first through daily devotions
    We currently “Worshop work, work at play and play at worship”.
    A son said that he’d watched church on the TV and didn’t want to go… his mum said, OK, when we get back, you can watch your lunch on the McDonald’s advert, whilst we have a proper roast…

Pearls of Wisdom?

  • Only as we cease to be restless doing, do we discover what is to be done.
  • The most important things in life are not THINGS, they are people. If you’re too busy for family/close friends, you’re too busy. We have less time for meals than we did, don’t eat what we should, and don’t take time to digest what we eat… it’s all grabbed and snatched!
  • Technology: the phone at mealtimes – ignore it – be the master of the telephone, don’t let it master you (J John has a particular bugbear with people constantly checking their mobile phones, and calls for us to focus on the people we’re socialising with, rather than checking it every 5 minutes!). Technology promised to make our lives easier, but has instead increased the pace of our work (both speed/volume).
Permission to Rest
This was always something I chose to focus on in an early worship session for Oak Hall holidays. The guests were there on holiday, and it was important that they allowed themselves PERMISSION to rest – as so few of us do – as the Tour Leader I couldn’t, but I would get my rest on return. Leisure is such a great stress-reliever. [I know I have a reputation for not being great at resting, but it is something I am working on this year, trying to ensure I have social time, reading time, sleeping time, time to get organised, asking others for help, and taking time to go out and get some fresh air!]
PLAY/WORK: God is equally pleased when each is done to the benefit of the other.
Where is God in all this?
Many in Britain are restless because they’re not at rest with their creator. Once we connect with God THE CREATOR we have to take the maker’s instructions seriously.
God’s Wedding Invitation
God’s offer is like a wedding invitation, it has an RSVP on it, and it has a date by which you must reply otherwise you can’t go.
  • From: God
  • To: Us in Jesus Christ/Everybody
  • About: Forgiveness from the past, and new life here today, and hope for the future.
If we were invited to tea with the Queen, we wouldn’t be able to help it slipping out, why are we not so before the King of Kings, before whom all those Kings/Queens will bow.
We are heavy-laden because we are a self-sufficient society.
Christianity: A Crutch? Brainwashing
When others have confronted J John that Christianity is simply a crutch that he uses to get himself through life, he admits this truly. We are ALL BROKEN PEOPLE, and if we had a broken leg we’d use a cruth, therefore in life, Christianity is our crutch!
When people accuse him of having been brainwashed, he’s pleased to say that his brain has been washed clean (and you don’t want to see what was in there before)… and from then onwards it’s a journey, letting God into all “rooms of our house”, which leads to the “fruits of the spirit“.
Final Thoughts
“In a world of hopelessness, the world is like a hospital gown – you’re often not as well covered as you think you are.” (Church is not a form of insurance, but a living relationship!).
Lieut Knox’s Headstone “Follow Me”, to which someone added “To follow you, I’m not content, until I know which way you went”.
We prepare for so much (e.g. exams/weddings), but not for the one thing that is going to keep us for eternity – Jesus.
Just 3 of Just10 Winchester to go. Next week is “Take God Seriously”. [Feel free to comment on these blogs BTW]

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