Sabbath Love

Genesis 1:26-2:3

sabbath rest

Sermon for Osborne Wedding

 

As I was thinking about what text to preach on for this special day I thought about the conversations we had in marriage counseling. And the phrase, “Sabbath Love”, came to my mind. I believe the Lord affirmed this Word when I discovered that one of your cats names’ is “Sabbath”. Now I know he was named after the band “Black Sabbath” and not the Lord’s Sabbath, but hey, the Lord works in mysterious ways.  I believe the Lord is calling you Pam and Bod. I believe that He is calling you to have Sabbath love.

In today’s text we see that God is busy. He is busy creating everything we know and everything we love. Our Heavenly Father is a creative God, He is the greatest artist of all time, in fact He made time as well, and I am constantly reminded by every clock I see that He did a pretty good job at it. To quote Psalm 19, “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” The Apostle Paul tells us that if we worship anything but the One True God we are without excuse because He has made himself evident to us in the beauty of His creation. God was busy creating. And as his last act of creation he created man in his own image, “in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Elsewhere in the Genesis story we are told that he created woman as a helpmate for the man. The word here is a combination of two words meaning power and strength. The woman came along side the man as his equal to bring him power and strength. And after God had created all of this, all we see around us today, on the Seventh Day he rested. And because God rested we too are to rest as well.

As I look at today’s passage I see so much that relates to your lives Bob and Pam. Pam I have learned that your family is full of creative individuals. Your mother was an artist, you yourself are a very organized person and have the ability to bring order out of chaos, a skill that I am sure Bob deeply appreciates. You work hard. You give your time and you give your love and you don’t expect anything in return. That sounds to me like the love of God working in your life.

Bob, our text today says that we are to take dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the Earth. I don’t know about the fish or the birds or everything on the Earth, but you certainly got cattle covered. You have built not just a business you have built a ministry trading cattle through joy and tears through ups and downs. You are the type of man who would give the shirt of your back if it would help someone. Maybe not always the best way to run a business but you know business is about more than the bottom line. As Jesus tells us in Luke 16, “ And I tell you , make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so when it fails they may receive you into eternal dwellings.” Bob you have the opportunity to make many friends for Jesus. To bring many people into his Kingdom. My hope is that when you go to be with the Lord there will be many people in heaven who were affected by your ministry who will throw you one heaven of a party.

Now you may notice one of the commands of this scripture that is often talked about as one of the reasons for marriage is to be fruitful and multiply. I think we can agree that at this stage of your lives that probably won’t be happening. But I think, there being like six billion people on this Earth, humanity has done a pretty good job fulfilling this command.  I believe the Lord is giving us a different idea for this day and age. It is not an explicit command of scripture but I think it is implied. Paul tells us in Romans 8:15 that we have received the Spirit of adoption. To quote Paul, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” When we become Christians we do not just receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior we receive the Father as our Father, our Abba, our daddy. We are no longer slaves to fear we are children of God. He claims us as his own, though we rejected his image in the Fall of Adam and Eve, though we reject Him in our everyday lives, though we are without merit. The Spirit of adoption is the spirit that says I choose you even though there is no natural connection between us.

Thus I think the one thing we can do in our lives that most reflects the love of God is to adopt. And Pam you did this not just once but twice. And even when you discovered your children were both on the autism spectrum it did not deter your love for them. For you do not judge by appearance Pam you judge people by their heart. And you Bob, are Pam’s helpmate in this regard. I am sure you didn’t know a lot about autism or children with disabilities when you started this journey. But you came alongside Pam, Jackie, and Anna, and you gave them strength, and you gave them your love.

I could go on. We could be here all day. The point is you guys have done a lot. You have worked hard. I think you guys are awesome. But one thing we discovered in counseling was rather profound yet simple;

“You guys need to take a break”

“You guys need to find the time to rest”

Because it is when we rest that we find time to love. And since God is Love I suppose that is why he rested on the Seventh Day. The word Sabbath means to stop, to halt, to put everything on hold. And that is what love does. Love stops for us. Love puts everything on hold for us. It is a rare thing in this world to find someone we can truly rest around. Someone we can let our walls down around. I believe you have found such a gift in each other.  But to truly have Sabbath Love I believe you must find the time to rest. And you all know more than myself how precious time is. As Job 14:5 declares the Lord has numbered our days. Maybe our lives can be cut short but we can’t extend them all that much. And we know not the number of our days. The thing I am learning about life is that you can always make more or less money, you can have more or less power and influence, but you can never have more time. It is the most precious thing we have and we must use it wisely. As Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 5:15, “ look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

So make time for each other. But above all else remember to make time for the Lord. As Jesus declares in Matthew, “ Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” You see his yoke is the Word of God, it is the scriptures. And as you all have been discovering in the home Bible study we have started the Bible is not as intimidating as some people think. A few well placed questions, a few heart felt prayers, can open up the Word of God to us. My greatest desire as a pastor is that I can equip believers to hunger for the Word of God, to rest in Jesus, and that they will lead others to that rest. In the words of the letter to the Hebrews, “ Let us therefor strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” ( Hebrews 4:11-13). When the day comes Bob and Pam when you must give an account to the Lord I pray you will be able to say that you found rest in each other. I pray most of all that you will be able to say that you found rest in Him.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen .

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