When my husband and I started out keeping Sabbath, we tried many times to have a good Sabbath with zero to minimal preparation. I’m here to tell you that just doesn’t work.
I’m generally an organized person. But at this stage in my life, with two preschoolers and a four month old, I don’t always FEEL like taking extra time for preparation. When I prepare for Sabbath, though, I have the opportunity to experience it as God intended.
What Is Prior Preparation?
I’m going to bring you into my world for a minute to illustrate the idea of preparation. When a woman is in her last trimester of pregnancy (like I was recently), she tends to experience something called nesting. It is an urgent desire and pressing to have everything done BEFORE the baby arrives. There are a hundred little things to take care of when a new baby joins your family and it makes life so much smoother to get them done beforehand. Once the baby arrives, you will want to spend all your time getting to know him/her.
Here is another illustration from God’s Word. Think about Mary and Martha preparing for Jesus’ visit to their home (Luke 10:38-42). Martha had invited Jesus to come. She wanted to be a good hostess and was driven maybe by a sense of perfection, accomplishment or just to please. She was so absorbed in her tasks that she didn’t even think about taking the special opportunity to sit down and get to know Jesus better. Jesus points out to Martha that Mary sat down with Him as soon as He came through the door. She didn’t want to waste one minute on doing something that was of less value than knowing her Savior. That is the true reason for prior preparation for Sabbath!
Don’t Waste Your Precious God Time
I shouldn’t waste one minute of my time doing anything I could have taken care of beforehand. And I shouldn’t try to take care of things during Sabbath that can wait until Sabbath is over. My desire and anticipation to know God better should be my motivation to get my work done before God “arrives” for Sabbath. He wants me to be standing at the door welcoming Him into my home and then spending the rest of the time at His feet.
I have had many Sabbath’s where I was driven to be a Martha. As I look back at those times, I am sad for the opportunities I wasted. My sense of accomplishment for getting my “tasks” done must have fallen far short of the closeness I could have gained with God.
Be a Mary
I am so glad that I have a choice to follow Mary’s example each Sabbath. But I have to begin my work early and stay on task so I can have it done BEFORE Sabbath begins.