This past Monday, on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, I heard another small voice inviting me to spend time with him, but this time it was my 4-year-old son, Micah. My wife had to go to work, and my 2-year-old’s preschool was open. So it was just Micah and me, for a whole day. What I had initially thought would be an exhausting, even trying day with my beautiful but often-defiant boy, quickly turned into a Sabbath do-over.
After we dropped Ethan off at his preschool, Micah asked, “Can we go to the park and play with ‘copter toys?” (A ‘copter toy, by the way, is a cheap but cool little toy you catapult high into the air and watch/chase as it spins to the ground.) After I hesitated for just a moment–it was still chilly that morning–I accepted Micah’s invitation. We headed to the park, where we played for a couple of hours, and I found myself thanking God for my kids, my family, his creation.
I was going to take Micah home for lunch, but I decided to make it a proper “celebration” of Sabbath and go–where else?–to In-N-Out. After lunch and nap time, Micah asked if we could go Geocaching. Again, I hesitated briefly, but then I eagerly accepted the invitation and off we went. We found two of the three caches we were looking for, and Micah came away with some fun little trinkets. I thank God for that rich time spent with Micah and, ultimately, with Him.
What made the difference between last Monday being just a day off, or a holiday, or a full day of parenting, was that I accepted the invitation this time. On the surface the invitation was coming from my son, but by accepting and, more importantly, dedicating my time and my being to that invitation, I realized it was really from God. I’m reminded of Simon Peter’s reinstatement and reconciliation with Christ over breakfast by the lake in John 21. When Jesus invited the disciples to breakfast, they didn’t hesitate; they accepted. Jesus asked Peter three times to affirm his love for him (likely inviting Peter to take back his three denials before the crucifixion). Then Jesus re-offers his original lakeside invitation to discipleship, “Come, follow me!”
Though I will reassure myself that my early-morning denial of the Spirit’s invitation was not as serious as Peter’s triple dis, I was reminded of his grace and that the invitation is always there to come and follow him. When we accept the invitation to Sabbath rest, we will experience all of the goodness of his creation, his gifts of relationship and pleasure, and a time to just hang out with him, even if only for breakfast (or In-N-Out). He’s waiting; we only need to show up.
Dinner Table Discussion:
1. What invitations did you have to rest, abide, or enjoy God’s creation or re-creation today or on your Sabbath? Did you accept, and how did that go?
2. What invitations compete with invitations to rest in your day, week, life? Are there some you need to decline more often?