He breaks away from the conversation before him and leans over towards my table, “Have you read that book before?”
I remove my earphone, “Yes, in Bible school, but I haven’t picked it up in years.”
He tells me that it changed his life. I agree that it has done the same for me. He then comments that he has never seen anyone else reading it before. I sip my coffee and explain that it was required reading at my Bible college back in Wisconsin.
“I’m in sales, and a client gave it to me.” He explains, “She was an older lady, and she handed it to me and said, ‘You’ve got to read this.’” I smile and listen, and he goes on, “I think she went to Bible college in Wisconsin.” And I feel connected to this stranger of the stranger, a woman who likely sat under the same Bible teaching as I did.
The man turns back to his friend across the table from him. I place my earphone back in and return to the quote I am copying down in my journal.
“In the creation God worked from the first to the sixth day and rested on the seventh. We may truthfully say that of those first six days he was very busy. Then, the task he had set himself completed, he ceased to work. The seventh day became the sabbath of God; it was God’s rest.
But what of Adam? Where did he stand in relation to that rest of God? Adam, we are told, was created on the sixth day. Clearly, then, he had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end.
God’s seventh day was, in fact, Adam’s first.
Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed his sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work.”
(Watchman Nee, Sit Walk Stand, emphasis mine)
It is not the first time I have inscribed this quote into a journal. Years ago they struck me at the core, and they still do today. Back then I wondered what this work might entail. I could hardly begin to imagine what God had in store for little me. I am still unsure, really. Yet He has been faithful to illuminate the path before me, one little bit at a time.
Sometimes He gives us only enough light to make that one next step forward.
With each consecutive step, He has made this one thing ever so clear, this promise woven throughout His Word: “There remains therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9)
Rest is His gift to us. When once He calls—when once He places within our soul a work for the glory of His kingdom—He first calls us to sit at His feet and rest. This is the only place where we will find the strength we need for the task ahead. After all, “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Rest is not only His gift to us, but His calling for us. He calls us to the Sabbath. Just as He summoned Adam, fresh from the dust of the earth and the breath of God’s lungs, to sit and rest with Him in the midst of Eden, He is calling us to the same.
He has a shady spot in Eden with your name on it.
I imagine our Lord sitting with Adam in the garden. I can picture Him pointing out to Adam all of His creation, all of His magnificent work from the preceding six days. And how after seeing these things could Adam be anything but confident that the Lord would also equip him for a great work?
That shady spot in Eden, it waits for you every single day. Sabbath is not a once-a-week invitation, it is an every-day promise. It is a place to sit and rest with the Lord; to think upon all the marvelous work He has done, and be renewed in His strength for whatever work He is calling you to.
Before the work calls, He does. He beckons us to come and sit, because it ends up that He Himself is our sabbath. “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) So go ahead. Take a seat. Breathe. Because that shady spot in Eden is exactly where your calling begins.