Another Word…by Gus Keiser

February 12, 2018

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.

                                                                                                            Deuteronomy 5:12

 I’ve always had this fascination with the Chinese language…not so much the spoken, but the written. Theirs is a strange alphabet because the characters used in writing it don’t stand for individual letters as does our English alphabet.  I’ve been told that they are not only incredibly beautiful, but they are also extremely difficult to understand and learn.  Each of the alphabet’s characters corresponds to a spoken syllable with a basic meaning.  However, there are many words within the language that combine two or more characters to express an idea that is different from the original words used to create it.  Let me give you an example.  The Chinese character for the word “busy” is written by combining the characters for “heart” and “dead”.  When you think about it, there’s really some appropriateness to that combining.  Whenever we allow ourselves to become overly busy, we are really laying the foundation for a lifeless heart.

Want a real challenge? Find someone in your life who isn’t busy.  Busyness (and it’s becoming an ever-increasing issue in today’s world) has become a part of current culture.  In today’s world, it almost seems that the busier you are, the more applause and affirmation you receive.  Yet there’s a lot we can learn from the ancient Chinese character (word).  There’s really nothing inherently bad about work, projects, or commitments.  However, when we start to allow ourselves to become overly busy…even though our intentions may be good… there are some important things (not to mention people) that we tend to neglect.

The Sabbath day…there’s a reason God made it a part of creation process…a day to be set aside and kept holy. In the passage I cited above God goes on to explain his purpose for commanding that day when he tells the people…”Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work…you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident aliens in your towns, so that your make and female slaves may rest as well as you.”  Through this commandment, I believe what God is calling his people to do is to find a healthy balance for their lives.  When we let busyness take control of our lives, we are living a life on the verge of disaster…whether it comes to us, our spouse or our children.  In a backhanded sort of way, it’s our way of telling God that we don’t trust him and that we’re notsure he’s always going to provide for us.

That having been said, perhaps it’s time we begin to make a personal effort in our life to carve out some definite time to rest and to observe the Sabbath. To do means that we’ll need to turn off our cell phones, turn off our TV, and any other electronic devices.  After having done so, then we need to take some time by ourselves or with our family to take a walk, go on a picnic, or simply watch a sunset.  The important thing here in whatever form of relaxation we choose is for us to relax, refresh, and renew our soul.  To do so may just prevent us from experiencing a premature “dead heart,” and instead create within us a heart filled with life and with the presence of our Creator.

Create within us, loving God, not only a clean heart, but a heart that continues to grow in its love for you…a heart that is alive, vibrant, and ready to serve you in thought, word, and deed. Amen.

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