Churchgod: Breaking the Fourth Commandment

I am muddling through some questions on making the Church my god. If you missed the first post in this series, you can catch up here.

Once I had realized that I had broken the first commandment, God led me to go through the rest of the ten. The minute I recounted the fourth command, I knew I had broken it.

See, the fourth command is to, “Honor the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” As a pastor’s daughter and later as a minister’s girlfriend/fiancée/ wife, Sundays were rarely about rest for me. They haven’t been since I was young. Again, the expectations from the Church put a huge burden on me. When I was younger (and until fairly recently), we had Sunday School, morning service, lunch (sometimes a potluck or Dinner on the Grounds, which meant a longer span of time to be “ON” rather than resting), and then a short break before Discipleship Training, evening service, and meetings. There were also days when the meetings took place before Discipleship Training, and those were even more fun, especially as a young mom.

I have spend some Sundays running around until I thought the entire world was spinning out of control. Likewise, there have been times when my husband and I didn’t go to church at all (for many different reasons), and honestly those have been the most restful Sundays for me. Just sitting around, studying our Bible together, praying together…they have been so good to us.

Currently, we are at a church plant where my husband serves as the student minister and as one of three elders. He. Is. Busy. From elders’ meetings in the mornings to the children’s Orange program to leading during the service if necessary, he stays alert and “ON” all morning on Sundays. Again, there are other meetings he has to attend and functions he is in charge of.

My Sunday mornings include getting my very pregnant self ready as well as my two little girls. My oldest is three and my second is 22 months. They aren’t quite self-reliant just yet. Some Sundays, I’m just glad we’re all at church before it starts. Or even after it starts. How on earth are my Sundays, my Sabbaths, supposed to be restful during this stage of life??

First of all, I realize that the Sabbath is technically Saturday. In that case, I’m usually good to go. I purposely do very little housework on Saturday so that I can rest after a long week of watching and parenting and caring for my girls. However, Saturdays can be their own brand of chaos. Ask any minister’s wife. Or child, for that matter. And when I can’t rest on Saturdays or Sundays, how on earth am I supposed to be honoring the Sabbath?

In Hebrews, the author say, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:9-10, NKJV). Leon Morris explains:

To enter rest means to cease from one’s own work, just as God ceased from his. There are uncertainties here. Some think the reference is to Jesus, who would certainly fit the description except for the “anyone” (which is a reasonable interpretation of the Greek). But the general reference is there, and we must take it to refer to the believer. The question then arises whether the rest takes place here and now, or after death, as seen in Rev 14:13:

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord… they will rest (anapauo) from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.

Bruce thinks it is

an experience which they do not enjoy in their present mortal life, although it belongs to them as a heritage, and by faith they may live in the good of it here and now (in loc.).

I should reverse his order and say that they live in it here and now by faith (2Co 5:7), but what they know here is not the full story (cp 1Co 13:12, 13, 2Co 3:18). That will be revealed in the hereafter. There is a sense in which to enter Christian salvation means to cease from one’s works and rest securely on what Christ has done. And there is a sense in which the works of the believer, works done in Christ, have about them that completeness and sense of fulfillment that may fitly be classed with the rest in question. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor’s Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing or Pradis = computer version) (Bolding added)

I can’t help but wonder if this, then is the secret: we rest in knowing that the works we have done by faith have been carried out to the best of our abilities. We rest in knowing that we have done our part and let God take over His. We rest, believing that we are enough to be used by Him and for Him and through Him…that our works, whatever they may be, are enough.

In resting this way, would my concern be as much for myself and how I look to the rest of the Church? No. My rest comes from knowing that God called me to do a specific task and that I followed through. Forgetting what others say or how they will respond is never easy. But I am learning, bit by bit, that if God leads, then He is enough to take me through anything.

That is the key, though. IF He leads. Because IF He isn’t leading and either I’m leading myself or the Church is leading me, then I will never find rest. Ever.

Next week (at some point?) I plan on sharing the third and final broken commandment in my life.

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