As the new year begins, we often spend time reflecting on the year that has just passed. We glow in memories of joy, success, and contentment, and we ache over hardships, struggles, and trials. As I reflect on the past semester as the head of Mount Paran Christian high school, I can honestly say there were hardships – but far more moments of sheer joy.
Each new school year, we take our entire high school – including all staff and students – on a four-day retreat. This year was no exception, but it was my very first high school retreat. God was faithful to make it all that I hoped for and so much more. The message delivered over three days by Mr. Stephen Burton was relevant in September and continues to be of the utmost importance now at the beginning of a new year: Sabbath.
Living in a STOP and GO World
To define Sabbath, we must first explore the trends of our daily life. Living in a continual state of busyness = "GO." This state of filling time with obligations, work, responsibilities, and our desires will not bring contentment. The opposite state, which is laziness = "STOP." This state of procrastination, avoidance, and stagnation never fulfills our purpose. When a person lives in a "STOP-GO" world, he ends up with apathy. If a person lives in a "GO-STOP" world, he ends up with crash. Neither state is God's design for our lives.
God calls us and commands us to Sabbath. He created Sabbath to be a rhythm of life that honors service and rest. A "GO+STOP=SABBATH" life is what we are called to live. We should all challenge ourselves to make Sabbath a part of our lives, not just a day in a week.
In Genesis 2:2, God did not grow tired and need to rest on the seventh day. He chose to rest as an example of how we should live our lives. The purpose of Sabbath is to replace our efforts (works) with His everything (glory). Time is needed to reflect on God's glory and His realness in our lives.
Creating Sabbath Moments
As a result of this incredible message during high school retreat, I offered my staff members the opportunity to take a Sabbath moment during the work week. I only asked the teachers to carve out time in their planning to spend in the presence of Jesus. As you can imagine, the impact was more than we could have hoped for or imagined.
Mr. Scott Minear, Bible instructor for the junior class, summed up Sabbath with these beautiful words: "Faithfully trusting in Christ allows us to enter the rest of God confidently – a rest characterized by being still, refraining from work, enjoying community, and experiencing completeness. By being still we discover a joyful contentment in the present. By refraining from work we find stillness in the provision of God. By enjoying community we experience the love of God poured out through His body. By resting in God we partake in a completeness, a God-grounded assurance, a quietness of the soul, heart, and mind."
Psalm 46:10 simply states, "Be still and know that I am God.” As we begin 2017, let us all live out this scripture by intentionally carving out Sabbath moments in our daily GO+STOP lives.
Tawann Rusk is the High School Head at Mount Paran Christian School. She also serves as Assistant Head of School.
To learn more about how faith is nurtured in students through the Christian Life department at MPCS, please click here.