Laying Down Your Burdens for Sabbath
In Jeremiah 17:19-27, God spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah and told the people of Judah to not work on the Sabbath or carry a burden through the gates of Jerusalem. We know that God spoke to the people of Judah on a literal level. He wanted them to completely obey the Sabbath, which included not picking up heavy shipments for business or personal reasons.
However, we know that burdens can have a spiritual meaning. What is a burden? It is anything that weighs on your mind and thoughts. Burdens distract us from focusing on the task at hand. Some people are burdened about a situation at work. Others may be hindered by a difficult financial circumstance. Those attending school (of all ages, including college), may be weighed down mentally by an important assignment or a test coming up. There can be family problems involving parents, children, or grandchildren. Of course, there is the state of our country and world affairs.
My point is – we all have mental burdens. These can cause us to exert emotional energy. They can cause physical fatigue. They cause us to be ineffective workers.
The Sabbath is a day of freedom where we give our time and attention to the Lord. The Lord does not want us to carry these burdens into the Sabbath with us. We might pick these up during the week, but Sabbath is the time to lay down these burdens at His feet.
In our fast-paced world, we must learn to stop, recognize these burdens and put them down before we enter into the Sabbath. One way to address this is to have the attitude that the Sabbath is the day where you don’t have to have the burden. In other words, you take authority over the Mountain of your burden and tell it that it cannot come with you into the Sabbath.
Over the years, I have learned to do this. Any stress, anxiety, or worry that tries to accumulate during the week automatically gets checked out just before Sabbath begins. You are free from the burden. As I have practiced this, I have noticed myself not picking up those burdens when the Sabbath ends.
There are things in life we can control and things we can’t control. Often, our burdens come from things we can’t control. The Sabbath teaches us every week to put things in God’s hands so that the one who controls all things takes the burden away.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.