A gift we struggle to receive…

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Luke 14:25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Wow. This is a massive level of challenge to those who were traveling with Jesus. Hate your own family members? Even life itself? And while Jesus had not yet been crucified, it’s likely his followers understood what he meant when he said they must “carry the cross”. Crucifixion was a widely known form of execution in the Roman world long before Jesus.

A key dimension of growing as a Christian is accepting increasing levels of challenge.

I’ve just recently returned from a three-month sabbatical, which was wonderful. During sabbatical I did some focused study of the seventh day “sabbath”. It’s the practice of resting from our labors one day per week, attending to our relationship with the Lord, enjoying peace with God and with other people. In fact, today (Monday) is my sabbath day.

Taking a day of rest is a gift. But the truth is many of us don’t know how to receive this gift, myself included. Few of us have role models to follow, so we have to figure it out. Despite the fact I’ve been focusing on this spiritual discipline for several years I still feel like a beginner. But that’s okay. Ours is a patient God.

Lord give us grace to remember your sabbath. Help us to receive this incredible gift. Amen.

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