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God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - A Word to the Overworked, Overwhelmed, and Overcommitted, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2023 6:00 am

God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - A Word to the Overworked, Overwhelmed, and Overcommitted, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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July 11, 2023 6:00 am

Are you feeling stressed out? Not enough time in the day? Chip brings a word of encouragement to those who are overworked, overwhelmed, and over-committed. So take a break today - you’ll be glad you did!

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When was the last time you took some time to just rest?

I mean, to be restored, to be rejuvenated, to be renewed. I mean, just to stop and smell the roses. Or candidly, do you feel like life is a rat race? There's pressure, there's demand, you feel overwhelmed, you're not really enjoying life. If that describes you even a little, you're going to love today on Living on the Edge. God has a word of encouragement for you.

Stick around. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. And we're in the middle of his series, God's Boundaries for Abundant Living. For the past several programs, Chip's been teaching through Exodus chapter 20, opening our eyes to a fresh perspective of the Ten Commandments. Today, he'll provide us with a unique look at the fourth commandment, which reveals God's plan to help us balance work and rest.

So with that, here's Chip with his message, A Word to the Overworked, Overwhelmed, and Overcommitted. This fourth boundary, I was a Christian about, wow, 10, 12 years before I even understood it, let alone started to obey it. And I learned it the hard way. I was driving in a car.

It was 1977. I had just graduated from college. I'd spent some time sharing Christ, traveling overseas, playing basketball. Even in college, I was sort of a high energy.

I played basketball and baseball, and then was in a Bible study, led a Bible study, met with a guy one-on-one, and had six different guys that I met with. And then I was an RA to pay my way through the part that my scholarship didn't take care of. So I had learned to live at a pretty fast pace, enjoyed it, and didn't seem to be a big problem. And then I began to work and lead a ministry.

And I would be up early, early in the morning to pray, memorize some scripture, read the Bible, go off to work, coach a team, get back, do a thing on the campus. And my life was moving at pretty high RPMs. And I was an in-shape guy, you know, 25. And I was driving back from Maryland. And I'll never forget this. And I was pushing, pushing, pushing.

When you're that young, you can go on four or five hours of sleep quite a bit, and you don't think it affects you. And a lot of stress and a lot of pressure. And I was getting on an on-ramp from Maryland back to West Virginia. And I turned my head like this to see if any cars were coming. And then no one was coming.

And so I got on the on-ramp, and then I had one small problem. I couldn't move my neck back. And it was like, okay, I'm gonna drive like this. And I had like four hours. And then I noticed that I'm not only driving, and not only is my neck locked, but I feel very cold. And those of you that have had a real high temperature or your body gets run down. And I had a sweat, but it was very cold sweat.

And I was thinking, I'm not sure, but I think I'm getting sick, you know. And so I made it the four hours, and I went home, and I got in bed. And I remember sleeping about two hours and waking up in the middle of the night.

And I'm one of those guys, when I play basketball, I mean, I lose three, four, five pounds. I sweat like crazy. And I woke up in the middle of the night, and I was soaked.

And I mean, my gym shorts, my T-shirt, the sheets. And boy, I wonder what happened. I got up, took a shower, got all the wet stuff off, threw a blanket on the bed, and went back to sleep. And about two hours later, I woke up again, and I was drenched.

And I've got no idea what's going on except for it's hard to take a shower with your head like this. And it happened again. And so being the very smart, intelligent person, I decided I would wait at least two days to find out if this was anything serious before I go to the doctor. You know, it was sort of like, you know, take two aspirin, this will go away.

And it didn't. And I never forget, I remember going to that doctor's office, and he ran a series of tests and started asking me some questions about my schedule. And I told him when I got up, and how many hours I put in, and what I was doing.

And I was leading a campus ministry, and I was teaching full-time, and I was doing this other thing. And he said, you know, I've run all tests on your body, and your body works fine. He said, but your body and your immune system is so run down, he said a good common cold could just, I mean, do severe damage. And he put me in the hospital for about three days and put an IV in me.

And then he said, I'll release you. I had an uncle that lived in town. If for two weeks you'll just go and lay in bed and get your body back up to snuff. And I did. My aunt was great.

She fed me all this great food, and it was a pretty good deal to tell you the truth. And I didn't think that much about it, and so I gradually got my legs back and found out I had a liver problem. Something wasn't working quite right. And I remember as a young kid I had mono and hepatitis, and they weren't sure.

And so it was sort of my Achilles heel that when I got really drained, that would pop up. Fast forward to 1984, made it through that. Now I've got a wife, got some kids. I'm in Dallas Seminary.

I'm finishing up my degree, and I'm taking a small church, and I've got to make sure, because I'm the only pastor, I've got to get everything done. And those same symptoms came back. And I was in another doctor's office, and he just looked me in the eye and he said, you're either going to die a very, very young man, or you're going to learn to live differently. And you know what?

I don't know much about your God, and I don't know much about the ministry, but I can tell you, you live at a pace and at a level that's going to kill you if you don't change. And I can tell you this, your liver is your weak spot, and when you get run down, this is what shows up in these tests. And he said, it's serious. And I thought, maybe I should look into this. The title of this message comes out of my own personal life. It's a word to the overworked, overwhelmed, and overcommitted. Do you know anybody like that? Anybody know anybody that is overworked, overwhelmed, and overcommitted? And some of you, maybe different stages of life, you know, Tuesday night it's this, Wednesday night it's that.

It's a committee meeting on Thursday night. Your kids are in soccer, softball, ping pong, ballet, music lessons. And mostly, you know, your meals together as a family are the drive-through at the McDonald's or the Burger King.

Overworked, overcommitted, stressed out. I used to live that way. And then I learned there was a gift. There's a gift from God. The gift is about every seven days, stopping, resting, ceasing, and allowing your mind, your spirit, and your body to be rested, recalibrated, and restored by honoring an enduring principle called the Sabbath. It's a gift from God. And about 20 years ago, I started to honor that, and I honor it religiously.

And it has, I still live at a pretty fast pace, but one out of every seven days, I Sabbath. And what I'd like to do is as you'll look at your notes, let's do a little evaluation on the command. Let's give an explanation, a reason, and the basic message of the Sabbath. And then this is one of all the commands.

Are you ready for this? You can read the literature of all the commands. I mean, you would think that all the books that have been written, it must be about, you know, no name other than God's name. The literature is overwhelming on this command. The most controversy, this command. And so we're gonna look at this command and what it meant for Israel. We're gonna look at this command and what Jesus said about it. We're gonna look at this command and for the early church and for today.

And then I wanna get through that information. And then I wanna talk about what's it look like for you to practice the enduring principle of the Sabbath so that instead of being overworked, you can work at a pace and in a way that would honor God and restore you. The Sabbath is a supernatural battery charger that God wants to use every seven days to get your body, your mind, your emotions, and your spirit, where it says, finished charging, ready to go. So let's look at the text together.

Here's the command. It says, remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. That's Exodus 20, verse 8. The word remember here literally means to vividly bring to one's recollection or to relive.

And we'll look at that in just a minute. It's not just kinda remembering someday. It is remember, stop, bring to your mental faculty a sense of vivid restoration of a certain event. And that event is this day and what it means to them in Israel. And then he says it is the Sabbath day. And the word for Sabbath means to put to an end. It means to cease. It doesn't mean Saturday. It came to mean Saturday. But the literal word for Sabbath is stop, desist, rest.

Literally it means to be lacking. Then here's the explanation. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord Yahweh, your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien living within your gates.

So pretty comprehensive. You, your family, your animals, everything. One out of every seven days call a royal time out and stop. The reason he gives in verse 11, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that's in them, but he rested on the seventh. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Now you all understand that God did not get tired after six days.

It wasn't like six days and man I am just beat. Right? God gives out energy and never loses any energy. So what he did is he's modeling something for us. Did you notice when you read through Genesis it was an evening and a day and he made it and at the end of the day he said it is good? When God gets done doing something he takes a moment and he pauses and then he looks at what he's made and he reflects on it and he enjoys it.

And after God had created one, two, three, four, five, six days and he made all mankind and the earth he took a long pause and he Sabbath, he ceased and he was modeling something for you and modeling something for me that you need to stop. You need to look back. You need to see what's been accomplished.

Are you ready? You need to enjoy it. You need to savor it. You need to drink it in. Some of us are so future oriented, so task oriented, so about getting things done and getting the strokes and all the stuff that comes from accomplishing accomplishing accomplishing accomplishing.

You know what happens? You never enjoy what God gives you and you never look back and drink in what has been accomplished. And so God says for six days you're to work.

It's a good thing on the seventh day because I modeled this for you. I want you to learn to live in a way where you don't just work but where you look back on your work and you appreciate and enjoy it. The message of the Sabbath basically there's three primary messages as you study this passage. One is that your work matters to God.

Notice it says six days you shall labor. God gave you gifts, energy, focus, creativity. There's a sense of purpose for your life. Your work matters to God. It's not like you come to a meeting like this and this is the spiritual part of the week or Sunday morning is the spiritual part of the week. Twenty-four seven is spiritual to God and offering unto God.

We live Romans 12 one type lives where you offer your body a living and holy sacrifice. And so when you're doing diapers, when you're babysitting grandkids, when you're fixing people's body, when you're drilling and filling teeth, when you're taking a kid to soccer practice, when you're taking a plumbing and connecting some plumbing because that's what you do for a living or connecting wires or whether you're in front of a computer screen, when you work and do your work unto the Lord, it is as spiritual as coming to church. It is as spiritual as being a minister of the gospel.

Whatsoever you do, do it hardly. Colossians 3 23 as unto the Lord. Work is holy. Your work matters to God. Vocation doesn't mean job.

The word vocation means a calling. God has called each one of us to do certain things according to our gifts and passions and his purposes. And he wants us to learn that we work. And do you notice that work was assigned to us before the fall? We live in a world where it's the TGIF mentality where everyone's trying to get as little work done as possible to get as much money as possible to do different stuff later.

We've got a whole world that thinks the world is made for weekends. Isn't that a pretty big waste of the majority of your life? This command teaches us six stages of your work. I want to use your life. I want to use you how I made you, working, whether it's at home as a mom with young children, whether it's out in the marketplace as a woman, whether it's as a man leading people, whether it's doing construction, whether it's writing software or programs or healing people's body. You do it every act unto the Lord. Your work matters to God. The second message of the Sabbath is there's more to life than labor.

He says there's six days you shall work and on the sixth you need to stop. Life can't just be viewed through work. People today prioritize all their world and all their life around work. We make this decision based on work. When we eat or don't eat as a family is because of work. What we do, where we go, what we're going to do, there's more to life than work. Work isn't enough to sustain you or sustain me.

It's an important part of life. But the Sabbath message teaches us don't view all of life through the lens of work. Where's the job?

How much money can I make? People often relocate to quote a better job that pays a little more and what they leave is a church family and their best relationships and their kids growing in a good environment because you've been trained to think that every time you get a promotion it's automatically God's will. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. Maybe God has bigger and higher plans than just a promotion.

Maybe it's like living a life. And so God wants us to know from this Sabbath principle that your work matters to God, there's more to life than labor and then finally your time belongs to God. I mean we all know that okay all that I am and all that I have that belongs to God. We teach what we have gifts from God, we're a steward. Paul said what do you have that you haven't received?

Answer, nothing. And so we're going to teach our spiritual gifts belong to God, our money, our resources belong to God, our homes, our cars, our children they're a gift from the Lord. What this says is your time isn't your own but we act like it is. He's going to say out of 164, 168 hours every week, 24 of those hours are mine. Now I own them all and you're a steward of all of them but 24 out of those 168 I've already marked off, I've preset their mind and I'm going to tell you out of every seven days what to do on 24 of those hours. But here's the amazing thing, it's a gift. It's not about rules and regulations, it's not about can do's or can't do's.

He's going to say I love you so much I'm going to set a boundary around that human tendency to go, go, go, go, go. You know some of us, how many people make those little lists where you write down all the things you have to do? Go ahead, raise your hand, I do. And isn't it really just wonderful, in fact I have a white board over here in my office, I get another white board over here and I make lists and you know what I love to do? Just before I left the office I went and took one of those little markers, check, check, check. And you know what, when you check three it feels better to check four, doesn't it?

And when you check four it feels better to check five or six. But if your life has any complexity at all, you never get done with your list, do you? And once you get done with that list, I have this amazing thing. I get up the next day and I have a whole new list. Do you understand that some people unconsciously are living from list to list to list with some illusion, some day some way things are going to slow down and some day some way you're really going to do some things that matter and some day some way you're really going to dig in and build some of those relationships and some day some way you're really just going to sit around the table and share hearts as a family and some day some way you're going to take that family missions trip and get beyond ourselves and some day later, I mean when things really calm down at work, then you're really going to find your niche in the church and where to serve and how to do it and what you know is the some day some way never comes. And God says, I got a solution to that. See if you don't take him, he'll give him to you. I've been in bed a few times for not taking the Sabbath.

I've got probably a litany of injuries that I could probably trace back to. You know what, I think God wants me to rest and when I don't take it, he's got a way to, because he loves me and he cares for you and he wants you to know that your time isn't yours, it's his. But as the psalmist said, our times are in his hands and he wants to do something very special, very special and very good. Let's look now, what's the meaning of the Sabbath? Let's look at it for Israel in the Sabbath, Jesus in the Sabbath and the church in the Sabbath and then I want to get to the application part. I've given you an outline here as you look at it, it's obvious I can't cover all this material. So what I want to do is highlight it and I've given you the passages so that I pray that since you're on some of you, a little Sabbath vacation, you can go over to the sweet shop and maybe get a Coke or a cup of coffee, put your feet up, sit in the sun, look up some of these passages and say, hmm, wow, this is neat. Let God speak to you personally. Israel in the Sabbath, first the Sabbath was a test for Israel, second it was a law and third it was a sign.

Let me just highlight these. First of all, it was a test. The first time we hear the word Sabbath in terms of its relationship to Israel is in Exodus 16 21 through 30 and this was a test of faith. This occurs one week before they get to Mount Sinai and one week before they get to Mount Sinai, they're whining and having struggles and there's nothing to eat and God says, here's what I want you to do. You go out in the morning and there'll be manna and just collect enough just for that day.

If you collect more, then it won't be good. And of course, being the really smart people they were a lot like probably all of us, if we were there, some of the people said, you know what? This is good for today. It tastes pretty good, but what about tomorrow?

See, I don't know that I can believe God will supply tomorrow. So remember what they did? They got an extra jar and when they got up the next day, they ate the one jar and what was in the second jar?

Anybody remember? Maggots. See this was a test of I am a faithful God. I will take care of you. And then he talked about the Sabbath and said, now here's what you're going to do. On Friday, I want you to take two jars.

And some of them are thinking, we've been down this road before, this can't work. Because if you take two jars on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but on the Sabbath, he says what? You take two jars. And then what happens when the sun goes down on Friday evening? You've got this and when you wake up on the Sabbath, you don't have to go out and work. It's there.

And what did they find? Both jars were good. The first mention of the Sabbath and manna is a test of faith so God's people could learn he will supply. And that's why when he gives the law and he says remember the Sabbath, bring into vivid recollection, their first experience with the Sabbath was what? The manna.

It's relive the Sabbath because the goal was they're going to have to learn in every situation God will meet their needs. He's a faithful God. On the day you work, he meets your needs. And on the day you don't work, he'll meet your needs. And the goal was trust my word. Trust me. I'm big. I'm powerful.

I can take care of you. And so every time they were to celebrate the Sabbath, they were to remember this experience. The second then is it became a law. Exodus 20, 8 through 11, he just told them to do it and then when the Ten Commandments are given, he says this is going to be something that is a part of Israel's weekly rhythm. One out of seven days, it's a law.

It will be enforced. This is a part of the theocracy. God is the king and my people will do what?

One out of every seven days, you take off. Third, it's going to be a sign, Exodus 21, 12 through 17. And as he explains the Sabbath here, it's a testimony to pagan nations. It's almost like a wedding ring.

You know, like I wear a wedding ring so people know that there's someone that I'm connected to and it's a sign, an outward visible sign of a relationship that I have with another person who happens to be my wife. The Sabbath, as you study that passage carefully, Exodus 21, about four or five times the word sign, sign, sign, sign pops up. Well you say a sign to whom?

It's a sign to the unbelieving world. Can you imagine being a Canaanite farmer and these Israelites come in and you are busting it and it's time to harvest the grapes and harvest the wheat and you bust it and you work and you work and you work and you look over at your Jewish neighbor and he works six days and he stops. And you're thinking it's harvest time. If it rains, they're in big trouble.

I mean, you better, what you know as a farmer is when it's harvest time, you better get it when you can. And you're working like crazy around the clock and they go right up to the sixth day and they stop. And you make fun of them and you sit around the Canaanite supper table thinking, you know, those Jews are nuts. They're crazy.

I don't know what's going on. And then at the end of the harvest time, you go and look at your barn and your barn is about this full. And then you look at their barn and their barn is about this full. And God has just made a sign to say, my people do something unusual. They dedicate one day to me in which they have the freedom as a gift from me to rest.

And when they rest, I'm a faithful providing God as a testimony to the pagans around them that they belong to me. That's the history of the Sabbath with Israel. What happened, however, over time, people being kind of what we are, is the Sabbath became, instead of a gift, it became a burden, became abused. By the time of the Pharisees, there were, I forget how many, hundreds of specific laws written about the Sabbath. They actually had 39 different categories about what you could do and couldn't do on the Sabbath.

And you read the literature, I mean, quick example. If you were a tailor on the Sabbath, if you took two needles home with you, that was a violation of the Sabbath and work, but you could take one needle home in case of an emergency. If you walked so many steps on the Sabbath, that would be okay. But if you took one more step, then that would be a violation of the Sabbath. They had rules for everything imaginable.

In fact, even to this day, it goes on, I was in Israel a few years ago, and they keep the law. And so you know what they have? They have timers on everything. They set all the elevators in a way where no one has to push the buttons so we're not working.

They take all the food and they put them in certain things and they have them all on timers, so everything gets cooked, their lifestyle doesn't change, but they quote, don't break the law. And that's what had happened by Jesus' day. The Sabbath became a heavy burden, and all these rules and all these lists, you can't do this, you can't do that, you can't do this, you can't do this, you can't do that.

Six different confrontations. Study Jesus' life. Six different times He takes them on, centered around the Sabbath. He ate grain on the Sabbath. He healed on the Sabbath. And what you have is Jesus' statement about the Sabbath is Mark 2-27, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. In summary, Jesus taught the Sabbath is a gift to man, it's not a burden. It ought to be a spirit of joy.

It's a time of rest and celebration. It's a time where Jesus said the creator of the world understood your human tendencies toward accomplishment and task and push and getting overworked and losing the joy and losing perspective and how you so live in the future and so live in fear and being so anxious. I'm gonna build something into the economy of God as you work with me where you will be forced to stop and get spiritually refreshed, physically renewed, emotionally recharged so the person that shows up the next six days brings more to the table than everyone else who's working all around the clock. And Jesus said that's the purpose and that's the way it needs to stay. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. You've been listening to part one of his message, A Word to the Overworked, Overwhelmed and Overcommitted from our series, God's Boundaries for Abundant Living.

Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. Whether you're religious or not, we all know something about the Ten Commandments and may even be able to name a couple. But do you know that they're just as important now as when God gave them to Moses? Through this study in Exodus chapter 20, we'll learn how respecting our parents, putting God first and keeping our word aren't just good ideas, but the moral foundation for our faith.

Stay with us to get a fresh perspective on these boundaries and better grasp how they can lead to an abundant life. If you've missed any part of this series, catch up on the Chip Ingram app. Our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram, is with me now and he has a special word that he wanted to share with all of you.

Chip? Thanks so much, Dave. You know, summer is a time where you tend to get a little time off or you find a novel that you want to read or maybe you want to grow spiritually and do a specific study. And what I would tell you is this, if there's one single book that I've had the privilege of writing, then I would say if you have not read this, this summer would be the time. It's called The Real God, How He Longs for You to See Him. You see, what comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.

Everything in my life, in your life, it flows from our view of God. And you know, I've read some great theology and my experience over the years was as I read Tozer and J. I. Packard and these great theologians, the truth was there, but I didn't know how do you get it from your head to your heart. And so my book called The Real God was my 20-plus years journey of taking this 7 attributes, there's far more, but the 7 major attributes and saying how do we take that from knowing God is good to believing He is good to knowing that He's just and in your heart of hearts be able to deal with the injustice and the struggles in the world. Let me encourage you, if you need a book to read to really realign your life and your walk with God, it's called The Real God, How He Longs for You to See Him.

Dave, could you give me a little information about how they can get the book? Happy to Chip. To learn more about this resource, visit or the Chip Ingram app. Through Chip's book, he'll explore 7 key attributes of God revealed in scripture. Discover how knowing who God really is gives us purpose, security and true joy in our lives. So if you're ready to transform your view of God, check out The Real God today by going to or the Chip Ingram app. With that, here again is Chip to share today's application. I have to tell you that when I teach on this topic of the Sabbath, we get an amazing amount of mail.

This really is a nerve for a lot of people, but I think unfortunately people gravitate very, very quickly to sort of logistical issues. What day is the Sabbath and can you do this on this day or not do this on this day and different traditions? You know what? We're going to talk about those things in our next broadcast. But what I do want you to know is don't miss the message. The message of the Sabbath is that our work really does matter to God. The message of the Sabbath is that there is more to life than work, and the message of the Sabbath is that the time that is entrusted to me, it really does belong to God. The very first thing he teaches in terms of the meaning of the Sabbath is that it's a test of faith. The Sabbath really is one of the greatest evidences in your life and my life.

Do I really trust God? In my confession, I mean, I'm not going to pretend here. It's a big struggle in my life, and I've had to talk about boundaries. I've had to put real boundaries on a day off, and I've had to put clear boundaries on time with my family, time with God, and vacation times to get renewed, because I love to work, and I know there's some wacky things probably deep down in my psyche, in my brain, and I get a lot of reward for it. I'm not sure it's all godly, but I could work, work, work, work, work, and really miss some things, and I'm probably talking to a lot of people that think just the same way. But when you hear yourself say things like, I don't have time. I wish we could slow down.

Yeah, honey, or yes to one of the kids, or to your roommate who's another single guy or another single gal, and you say, yeah, when this gets done, then we can. All those phrases are telling you, you don't get the Sabbath, and you're missing out on God's gift. Some of us are working so hard, but the reasons we work is very fundamental. We don't believe God will provide.

We don't believe He's in control. He has told us to stop, to rest, to be physically, spiritually, and emotionally renewed because we're the object of His love because He wants you to see and me to see that when we are not working, He is, and He has our future and our best in mind, and it is not an obligatory thing as much as a gift. Are you receiving the gift of the Sabbath? Do some hard thinking on this one, and then make sure you tune in to our next broadcast because we're going to dig a lot deeper.

I'll see you then. Looking forward to that, Chip. Well, before we go, if you're searching for good Bible content, check out the Chip Ingram app. You can listen to our most recent series or sign up for Daily Discipleship with Chip, a great resource to help you study God's Word at a deeper level. We want you to grow in your walk with Jesus, and the Chip Ingram app will help you do just that. We'll listen next time as Chip continues our series, God's Boundary Series for Abundant Living. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-11 05:23:21 / 2023-07-11 05:36:50 / 13

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