Text: Exodus 20:8-11
Introduction – As we undecorated our Christmas tree, packed away some of the other décor of the season, moved furniture back in place I noticed how much extra space we were creating.
It got me to thinking where are the areas that we need to create some space? Closets that overflow and basements packed to the limit are ok, but overstuffed and cluttered lives are not.
If our calendars are so full that there is no time to rest and if our finances are so tight that there is no room for error and if our family relationships are so cluttered that everyone is going in many different directions all at the same time so we rarely see each other – then we have a problem.
If your thinking…but that’s just how life is or how it is right now and it’s ok, then please hear this – it’s not ok. God did not create us to live life at the edge of our limits. God created us to live with breathing room.
Breathing room is the space between our current pace of life and our limits. We have limits on our time, limits on our money and limits on our emotions, which mean there are limits on how we relate to the people around us.
While we all have different limits, our limits are real and when we live right up to the edge we can’t fully enjoying the life God has given us.
Let’s examine three areas where we often live on the edge. They are time, money, and relationships.
As we reflect on these areas let’s seek ways to create some much needed room to breathe.
- God speaks to this issue in the Ten Commandments. These were given to the Israelites after they had lived for generations as slaves in Egypt. All they knew was work. They had to work all day – every day.
Fear drove the people to work. But God told them to create space in their lives to breathe and rest. God gave them the gift of the Sabbath.
This day of rest does two important things. First, it calls us to actually stop working and rest. But it is also a day for our souls to rest because the Sabbath reminded them/us that even God rested (stopped creating) and they were created in the image of God.
So the Sabbath not only gave the people rest but it helped them confront their fear and overcome it with faith and trust in God.
- But it wasn’t just the Sabbath that created space for God’s people, so did the tithe, look at Deuteronomy 14:22, 28.
When the people were told to give 1/10 to God, this taught them that not everything they had in life was for them to live on.
They had to learn to live on less. Now the tithe is one way God helps us to created financial breathing room and not live on the limits of the resources. This can give us security and peace.
- Finally God taught the people the importance of creating space through the law of Gleaning. This is found in Leviticus 19:9-10.
The people were told to leave the space around the edge of their fields untouched so what grew there could go to those who were hungry.
And they weren’t supposed to go back over their fields to pick up what had fallen but leave that for those in need.
Basically God is saying, income on the ground, don’t go out and get everything you can but leave some for others and the reason they were told to do this was because it was to help them learn how to trust God.
Conclusion – What is driving us to live dangerously close to the limits? Is it that says we have to have it all? Is it a lack of faith that God will provide so we have to go out and get it ourselves?
Where do we need some breathing room? Is it our schedule? Our finances? Our relationship? Life is short and our marriages, families and friends are too important to not ask these questions.
If the pace of life is keeping us from those things that matter the most, then create some space and find some breathing room.