Laying Down Your Burdens for Sabbath
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
In Jeremiah 17:19-27, God spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah to correct the people of Judah. The people at that time were working on the Sabbath and carrying heavy loads through the gates of Jerusalem. We know that God was speaking to the people of Judah on a literal level. He wanted them to completely obey the Sabbath, which includes abstaining from work.
However, we know that physical burdens can have a figurative connotation to it. Paul wrote: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). The Greek word translated as ‘burdens’ refers to something that is heavy.
In the figurative sense, a burden is anything that weighs on your mind and thoughts. It involves pressure, expectations, and stress. Burdens distract us from focusing on the task at hand. Some people are burdened about a situation at work. Others may be hindered by difficult financial circumstances. 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, national and international events can also keep us mentally occupied.
We all have mental burdens. These can cause us to exert emotional energy. Moreover, they can cause physical fatigue. As a result, burdens can easily distract us from Sabbath observance. During the week,w e pick up these burdens because we might have to take a test at school, deal with a difficult situation or address certain people. However, the Sabbath is the time to lay down them down.
In our fast-paced world, it is imperative that we slow down, recognize these burdens and put them down before we enter into the Sabbath rest. It will take time and practice to put this concept into its full use.
Here is how I began to implement this notion: I took 15-30 minutes before Sabbath started to sit down and take a deep breath. I recognized my burdens and let them go; I prayed and asked God to help me put them down. It took me time to hone this discipline, but it has produced results. Over time, I have noticed myself not picking up those burdens during the Sabbath and even after the Sabbath ends. I have also noticed God working out things that are beyond my control.
Many times worry involves concern about things that have yet to happen. There are things in life that we can control and things we cannot control. Often, our burdens come from things that we cannot control. Often there’s nothing we can do to resolve these issues on Sabbath. The Sabbath teaches us every week to put burdens in God’s hands. He is the Master; He has mastery over things that frustrate us.
Through Christ, learn to take authority over the mountain of your burden and tell it that it cannot come with you into the Sabbath.
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7, KJV)
“29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30, KJV)
His burden is light. Lay down your burdens and let the Sabbath become a delight!
Kelly McDonald, Jr.