I Don’t Want To Play Anymore.
“I’ll be gathering up my marbles and going home.”
I miss the days when the only thing at stake was marbles. I have certainly lost a few. They have not been missed. At least, I haven’t missed them. Those who know me, well, that’s another story.
It was an annoying comfort as a child to have to be home at a certain time. My parents established a set time that I had to end my play with friends or my romping through the neighborhood. I was to be home for dinner, a bath, and some family time before bed. It was a wonderful rhythm that every child hates but needs.
Life is all about Rhythms
God established them throughout the history of Israel. They had annual, seasonal, monthly, and weekly rhythms. One of the most significant was that of the Sabbath.
Each week, families would stop. That is a simple way to explain the Sabbath, but it’s very accurate. They stopped. They packed up their marbles. They went home. And, they… Well, they stopped.
They refused to participate in the rat race. They stopped doing everything that every other day required. They purposely and obediently opened a void in their life. They made space to appreciate all that God had blessed them with. It was a celebration of sorts. A celebration of what He had accomplished in their lives over the last six days. They sectioned off a day to think, talk, listen, and simply enjoy the stillness.
It was also worship. You can’t talk about the Sabbath without thinking about God. God established the Rest when He took the day off after the six days of creation.
Genesis 2:3 (NLT) And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
So yes, they worshipped. They gathered at the Synagogue and they listened to scripture being read. They considered the various teacher’s thoughts about those scriptures. The sabbath was a day to let their spiritual being grow. It was a day to “fill the tank” after several draining days of plain old ordinary living.
Some Rhythms Only Come Once In A Lifetime
Ancient Israel was commanded to hold to a rhythm that would only occur every 50th year. It was called the Jubilee. And for most, it was a once in a lifetime event. It was actually a reset. It restarted society in a way. The game board of life was cleared. Everyone took a break and then the process would restart.
Leviticus 25:9-10 (NLT) Then on the Day of Atonement in the fiftieth year, blow the ram’s horn loud and long throughout the land. 10 Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors and return to your own clan.
It sounds great, but Israel didn’t really take it seriously. After all, If you are winning, watching that board be cleared is painful. If you are losing, it would be a relief. But those who are losing are seldom in charge. So God often had to enforce His Word.
2 Chronicles 36:21 (NLT) So the message of the LORD spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.
So, Israel had a few resets. Their game board was cleared from time to time.
If all you ever do is play the game, and your board is cleared, what to do? Humm, that is a conundrum. But only for a short while. Soon, you would adjust and find new patterns. In those new ways, you would find new freedom, friends, and hope.
Mankind has a short memory.
Each generation forgets the lessons of the previous generation. Each generation thinks its trials are worse than any others have had to endure.
Ecclesiastes 1:10-11 (NLT) Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
So, when these “resets” come, we seldom have the benefit of the experiences of others. However, from the Bible’s Library, we discover that these rhythms are about freedom. We tend to get “tied up” in our circumstances, echo chambers, worldviews, and so on. A good, challenging change shakes us up. That shaking also shakes loose those bounds of the routines we have become comfortably trapped within.
So, I want to embrace the Freedom our current reality presents us. I also want to grasp hold of those rhythms of sabbath and new beginnings.
Carpe Vitam. Seize The LIFE!
Take time to recognize and celebrate what has been Given.
Today would be a great day to thank God for what He has given you. Your family, career, and friends are all wondrous gifts from a God who is crazy about you. And, consider what you have accomplished. In the days you have been given so far, you have loved well, laughed much, and enjoyed many good days. Breathe in that moment of gratitude and praise. Rest in that stillness and be deeply appreciative toward our good, good Father.
It is okay to grieve what has been lost.
Okay, I know. Things did not go as planned. Mistakes were made. You made a few yourself and may have done a few dumb things, too. Life was unfair and you did not get the same opportunities as others. The world was cruel and things that you needed were taken from you.
The best thing you can do with those things is run to your Father. He will comfort you. He cares for you. It is wise and timely to grieve what cannot be. It is okay. If you need permission here it is. BUT… AN ending is not THE ending.
Embrace The New That God Has For You!
Isaiah 43:19 (NLT) For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Every ending is also a beginning. As you step from the Father’s comforting embrace, You enter His marvelous masterpiece. The masterpiece of your life. So, smile. Preach a sermon of hope and joy to your own heart. God is not done with you. He is not done in your family, business, or world. You can be sure that good is on the way. You can take hold of the promises that God has got you and He also holds this.
Do Not FEAR but take courage. Take courage from the one who breathes life and gives strength. The best for you is still in front of you.
1 John 2:28 (MSG) And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.