The 9 Commandments and That Other One

June 29, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

I almost entitled this “The 10th Commandment*” and then I would explain the asterisk.  However, I know how you are.  “Don’t covet is the 10th commandment.  That’s not what you’re talking about.” Then I would have explained the asterisk.  You would have objected again that it wasn’t clear.  It just wasn’t worth it.  “This was?”  Hmmm…

Two passages for your consideration:

Exodus 20:8-11

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Col 2:16

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

So there you go.  Honor the Sabbath is right there in the top 10, #4 to be specific.  Then you have Colossians where some false teachers have emphasized the ceremonial parts of Jewish law and Paul says don’t let people judge you based on these.  You put this together with the idea that Jesus fulfilled the law, we are not under the law and the 10 commandments become 9 + 1.

(Sidenote:  You want to waste some time? “Of course, I do.”  Top 2 Bible related things to Google and read some weird stuff:  Sabbath and King James Bible.  I take it back.  Don’t do it.)

Is this the right approach?  Is there nothing in between strict observance of the Jewish Sabbath (Please tell me you didn’t read that stuff) and ignoring it completely?  Surely there is.  Surely.

God still believes sin is serious, even though we do not sacrifice animals.  We trust in Christ.  God still wants us to be his people set apart, but we don’t follow the dress codes and dietary codes.  We strive to live lives with pure hearts.  God still values worship, but we don’t celebrate the Jewish feasts.  We worship God in community and throughout the week.  God still values rest, but we don’t celebrate the Sabbath.  We…we…what do we do?

That’s the rub isn’t it.  We think this one doesn’t matter at all any more.  It’s one thing to say that we are not bound by the rules.  It’s another thing entirely to say that God’s value system has changed.  “God doesn’t even care about that any more.  Move along.  Nothing to see here.”  From the very beginning it would seem that God is honored when we rest.  We were created to rest.  We were created to take time and reflect on him and stop the madness of a pace of life that is spiritually, physically and emotionally unsustainable.

“Fine then, how?”  Welpst, we struggle when there aren’t rules, don’t we?  This isn’t a rule.  This is a principle.  You will have to figure that out through prayer, reflection and with your family.  The how is up to you.

Wait, Ok, I’ve changed my mind.  I’ll tell you exactly how to do it.  Oops, I can’t.  I’ve got to get to a meeting and then to unpack some boxes in the new office and then hurry home to get on the treadmill, eat some dinner and get the kids to play practice.  Maybe later…


Running Around with My Hair on Fire

I don’t how many of you have ever moved to a new town and become the lead pastor of a church.  Anyone?  Just me?  Fine.  Then you will have to come up with your own context to apply this, or you will be stuck just mocking me, which I think we could turn into quite a fun game.

Anywho, when people ask me how long I’ve been here in Fayetteville at the Grove, I have to think about it.  It has only been a little over three weeks but if feels like so much longer.  It’s not because anything bad has happened or that it has been particularly difficult  It’s just that I have been moving at such a fast pace and so much has happened.  It takes a lot of energy to move into a new situation like this.  There are a lot of people that want to meet you and get to know you, and I want to meet and get to know them.  I want to cast new vision and energy for what God will do in the future and that takes a lot of energy as well.

Did I mention that I have a family?  They need to get connected to people.  We were here a week when we got Lauren connected with a Soccer (Futbol?) Club.  She practices 3 nights a week, we’ve already had 4 games, 2 of which were in Oklahoma (not a typo).  School started last week and we are trying to make new friends.  We are going and going.  It has been a blast.  I have no complaints.

However, after 2 1/2 weeks of this, last week I just crashed.  I was hit with the overwhelming tireds.  I realized I was pushing a little too hard and falling into the oft lamented trap of all doing and minimal being.  “Nice, Cloften, what does that mean? It sounds very deep but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

It is very important that I take a significant amount of time each day and connect with God, not just prepare the next talk, sermon, staff meeting.  All of those are spiritual endeavors, but they take from me.  Connecting with God because I love him, fuels me.  Recognizing that he is in control slows me down and reduces the stress and pressure.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Ministry is a marathon not a sprint.  Leading a church is a marathon not a sprint.  A friend of mine recently quoted someone else (I don’t think my senior English teacher would approve of that documentation) said that ministry is a series of sprints and rests, and that’s the best way to “run this marathon.”

(Let’s beat the metaphor to death and even mix it up)  Sometimes the fastest way to get somewhere is to go slower.  Sometimes the only way to get there is to stop and get gas.  Sometimes running and running and running as fast you can only gets you somewhere short of your goal quickly and to your goal, never.  Sometimes the way to do more ultimately is to do less now, or better said, to do more with God.

A week or so later, I’m still tired, but I think that has more to do with allergens at the Paradise View Apartments.  I feel I’m going internally slower while still growing pretty fast externally.  I still have plenty to do and plenty of stuff worthy of stress.  However, I am more and more increasingly aware of God’s love and sovereignty.

And I’m pretty sure that my hair is no longer on fire.