Wanting MORE. And A Good Drinking Song

13 06 2011

Reflections on the book Sabbath by Dan Allender, from chapter 7: “Sabbath Play: Destitution to Abundance.”

 

Wise King Solomon said, “Most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors…” (Eccl. 4:4) and it is this envy that drives us to strive in our “chronic commitment to keeping time and moving the agenda ahead” (120). There is no room for the word, enough, because “whenever one is in need of more and operates with the noise of striving, there will be a senseless surrender to addiction” (121).

Envy pulls us into slavery as “slowly and surely, we get mired by our obsession to obtain, to gain, to control” (121). Allender writes, “Without notice, we become consumers not of products or even experiences, but of status…we become whores to gods that are not God” (121).

This chasing of the wind leaves us perpetually unsatisfied; perpetually wanting. God could see all this, from the very first week of creation! He saw that we would always want MORE and the trouble this would create for us, and so He created one day of perspective. He commanded us and commands us to stop our working, our striving, our slavery and compare one thing to another.

Are we filling our lives with hollow, paltry things? The Sabbath calls us to compare this to a MORE that is beyond what we can make in factories here. It shows us the future with words that can’t even capture the half of it (from the prophets Ezekiel and Joel):

Wine will drip down the mountains in a torrent of robust joy. And the water will be so pure and bountiful that it will fill the Dead Sea with fresh water, and fish will live in what was once inhabitable. Life will flourish because there will be a continual stream that explodes from the temple watering all the arid valleys and hearts on the earth (124).

To illustrate, Allender tells the story of a group of desert dwelling Bedouin leaders who were brought to Paris to admire the great works of French culture. They saw the Eiffel and many other architectural wonders; they seemed quite bored with it all. But when they were brought into the countryside, they stood in awe of a waterfall:

They waited for the surging flow to stop. They refused to leave, adamantly declaring to their French guide that honor required waiting…waiting for the end. Knowing the water could not last much longer, they awaited the moment when God would grow weary of his madness, when this wild extravagance would suddenly and finally exhaust itself (124, quoting Belden C. Lane).

We are like those Bedouins, who have “learned to live in the desert of God’s absence for thousands of years, who cannot imagine the inexhaustible glory that has already been given to us in Jesus…” (124). The Sabbath is that day where we see the MORE we are craving, when we cup our hands to catch some of it knowing that it flows endlessly and though we drink some of it presently, a day is coming when we will live in the reality of MORE.

The Sabbath is, as Allender describes, a day when we lift a thimble and sing a good drinking song, a song of gratitude:

Who are you celebrating? To whom do you owe your life…? Who marked you with kindness that has enabled you to offer care in return? Who has scarred you with heartache that has enabled you to enter the wounds of others with grace? We are called to bless those who love us and those who love to do us harm. Both groups escort us to the banquet of God, served on the Cross… (127)

The Sabbath is a day to eat the bread and drink the wine with intoxicating self-forgetfulness (129). A day of gladness of heart with a rounding off of the edges of our life. The Sabbath is a day that calls us to stop our envying and instead be recklessly stunned by the gift of our good fortune (127).

The Sabbath shows us what is true satisfaction, a glimpse of it, enough of it to know that we have more than enough for now — enough to share with grand generosity! And one day, we will have even MORE.

Raise a glass:

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough…

(Chris Tomlin)

— Teresa Klassen

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