God’s Care Plan
Preface: The Bible reveals the Lord as the Lord of the seventh-day Sabbath, the most basic sign of Him as Creator and Redeemer.
“To make comfortable” was the care plan for nursing-home residents five years ago. The residents were bathed, fed, entertained, and medically treated. It was maintenance—as life slowly ebbed. For their protection and control, it was common to restrain them in chairs and sedate them with medications. Bed sores were common because of poor circulation. The result: deterioration and weakness.
“To restore to optimal health” is the nursing-home residents’ care plan today. Not confined to beds and chairs, nor restrained by chemical or physical restraints, they are up and moving about, preventing bed sores. With individually designed therapy programs, some residents improve remarkably and even go home. The result: health and restoration.
“Rigid Sabbath observance” was emphasized by the rabbis in Jesus’ day. With a list of 39 types of labors not to be performed on the Sabbath and a multitude of hairsplitting regulations, they bound the Jews in slavery to a hollow—not hallowed—Sabbath. The result: deterioration and atrophy of the spiritual person.
“Restoration” is God’s Sabbath care plan for us. He wants to restore His own image in us. He made it a day to bless us with physical, mental, and spiritual health. The result: strength and restoration.
Following God’s care plan:
Come apart. The fragmented life of multiplicity destroys our spirit. In this age of information overload, we are weighted down, not only with our own cares but with the world’s problems, as well. God’s design is for us to come away from the world’s focus and meditate on His blessings. He is eager to repair the damage from world’s chaos.
Release the restraints. God’s purpose today, as it was with the Jews, is to set the Sabbath free from burdensome regulations. It is a gift, not a penance.
Bring an appetite. Is there enough spiritual hunger in us to gain the value of a whole Sabbath, or do we muffle the demands of our spiritual nature with distractions? We can become so stuffed with secular and even church responsibilities that we sense no need. This is a day to come, empty of ourselves, for God’s fulfillment.
On the Sabbath, we repose from everyday labors and enter a holy rest and communion with our Creator. Just as we’re refreshed and replenished with a good night’s sleep, we’re also invigorated by the Sabbath rest. By lingering with God, keep the spiritual person from shriveling and becoming feeble.