Today, you're in for a treat! Rather than reading about my Sabbath, guest blogger, Lisa Bartelt, is sharing her own perspective. Lisa, a former journalist who is now a stay-at-home mom of two, writes about faith, life, motherhood, running, and books, among other things, at The Home Front.
It all started with ants. God has a history of making a point with insects (think, locusts) and my Sabbath experience is one of them.
Every spring, it seems, our house is visited by ants, and nothing annoys me more than when they start creeping all over the kitchen counters.
Confession: I'm not the best of housekeepers; I don't own a dishwasher; and I hate washing dishes. Thus, the kitchen sink is often full of dishes in need of washing.
Enter the ants.
I know that having a clean sink would go a long way in curbing the ant problem, but with a 3-year-old and a 17-month-old running around the house, dishes are often the last thing on my to-do list anyway. So, when my husband suggested one evening recently that I wash while he dried, I took him up on his offer. That night, we got through most of the dishes, and I committed to working harder to clean up daily, leaving the sink empty, or nearly empty, each night.
I can't tell you it's worked perfectly -- hey, life isn't perfect! -- but I can tell you that one Saturday night, when I usually would have been planted on the couch in front of the TV, I worked diligently to finish the dishes so that I'd have less to do the next day, Sunday, my supposed day of rest.
After ants, the next most annoying thing for me is having to do housework on Sunday.
My husband is in seminary, called to be a pastor, so I have no illusions that Sundays will actually be a day of no work for us. Heck, with young children in the house, I'm not sure I can truly have a no-work day. But I need to take a break from housework, especially dishes, so this particular Saturday, that was my goal.
I walked out of the kitchen, not long after I started, victoriously proclaiming to my husband, "It is Saturday night and there are no dirty dishes in our sink!"
The following day, I still had to feed children, cook dinner and do a load of laundry, but seeing the emptiness of the sink (and counter and stove, if I'm honest), lifted my spirits. I didn't feel guilty reading a book while the kids napped. I actually wanted to make dinner because I didn't have to work around the previous night's supper dishes.
In a sense, I felt free.
And I think maybe that's what Jesus intended when he said this about the Sabbath:
"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." -- Mark 2:27, NIV
Hard work on Saturday (and the rest of the week) is worth the freeing rest of Sunday.