1961 Maui Work
Joel S. Goldsmith
390A – Our Sabbatical Periods
Good morning…Because this is Sunday, it opens in me the thought of Sabbath. And of old it was taught that there should be one day each week of Sabbath. And that this Sabbath day was one in which we turn away from the work: the everyday work of our lives, the everyday labors, the everyday cares, and we devote that one day to worshiping God, living in the word of God. We’re told to keep that day holy—wholly free of worldly cares, wholly free of worldly concerns, and thereby abide in God, abide in the Spirit. To have one day of the week completely free of material consideration, material worries, material labors, and to be in the atmosphere of the Sabbath.
And of course you can readily understand that nothing could be more worthwhile than this. Nothing could be more helpful to a person living the ordinary human life than to have an entire day out of every week in which they were not to permit the concerns of daily living to enter their thought, in which they were to keep themselves consciously in the presence of God.
Now of course, the result of that would be that throughout the rest of the week, part of that atmosphere attained on the Sabbath day would carry over into the week and help us in our labors, help us to carry our burdens, our cares. As a matter of fact, if we actually could attain God awareness even on that one day of the week, it would be a tremendous help in having that presence of God with us the rest of the week to help us fulfill our tasks.
This idea is further carried out in the idea of a sabbatical year. In other words, an entire year of Sabbath days, an entire year in which one frees themselves from their material cares, from their ordinary labors, and has a year of spiritual refreshment, a whole year of abiding in the atmosphere of holiness, a whole year of filling one’s self with spiritual renewal, spiritual regeneration.
Now, those who have ever had the experience of spending an entire day free from all material concerns, even household cares, and spending an entire day, let us say, with the Bible or with spiritual reading or in meditation or contemplation of the things of the Spirit, could surely bear witness to what effect that would have on their lives the other six days following—as a matter of fact, for more than six days following.
It was the custom of the Master to go apart for many hours, even from his disciples, and have a Sabbath, a freedom from even the ministry—that is the ministry unto disciples and unto the care of people, and spend it in this inner quiet contemplation of the spiritual universe. And we are told that there were periods when he went apart for forty days and fasted—fasted really from material considerations, fasted from material labors, fasted even from the acts of benevolence, and just lived wholly and completely in the Spirit.
When the system of monasteries and wisdom schools developed, this idea of Sabbath was carried much further. And to begin with, those entering the schools or the monasteries, gave up all of their material concern, all of their material labors, occupations, to devote themselves really to a lifetime of Sabbath, to a lifetime of resting in the atmosphere of God and making themselves subject unto God.
But, there is a fault to be found with this, and that is, that once you separate this world into a spiritual world and a material world, you get to where you do not think of God and the spiritual universe or the Spirit of God as having any application at all to the human life. You set it apart, and in the end it becomes valueless, because, unless the Word becomes flesh, unless the atmosphere of God can be made a part of our daily living—not something separate and apart, not something for people who have to retire from human life, but unless the atmosphere of God can really come to embrace this human universe and have a part in its functioning, it does not fulfill itself.
And therefore, we have discovered that the Sabbath does not necessarily have to be twenty-four hours out of a period of seven twenty-four hours. A Sabbath can be for fifteen minutes or thirty minutes or an hour. We can take some part of every day or night for a Sabbath period—meaning a period in which we set aside our concerns of the day, our problems of the day, our lives of the day; in which we will refuse to entertain any thought of our home, our business, our profession; in which we will completely absent ourselves from the body, and be present with the Lord.
Now, the fruitage of that is this: that if you have a Sabbath period, if you have a period completely apart from human cares, concerns, activities, labors, and are able to abide in the presence of the Lord; be absent from your body, the body of your home, or the body of your business, the body of your profession; be absent from this world, and be present in the atmosphere and in the Spirit of God, you will find, that when you return to your labors that you carry with you the atmosphere of God; you carry with you that presence of God; you carry with you the power of God.
And you will discover then, that your labors become lighter, your burdens become less, and you are able to carry through the word as the Master indicated: you can cast your burdens on me, because my yoke is easy. In other words, I have this yoke of God, which carries the labor, and lets me free to perform whatever I have to do without worry, without fear, because, in that period of the Sabbath, I have not only laid aside my cares, but I have taken on me the yoke—that which enables me to carry any kind of a load, and yet, carry it without feeling any heaviness, any drag, any weariness.
So it is that in our work, in which we have these periods of meditation and contemplation, the object of them really is a Sabbath. It is a period of refraining from this world and its cares, and a period of inner spiritual refreshment, inner spiritual renewal. And you will find then that you do not need to set aside one whole day in a week, because you have set your Sabbath for some period of every day during the week.
And the strange thing is that whereas you may start with one period of ten or fifteen minutes of Sabbath each day or night, you’ll find that it grows on you to an extent that it becomes absolutely necessary to have three such periods or four. In other words, you become more hungry for this ten or fifteen minute period of Sabbath than you will ever feel hunger for food. You will never, never be as hungry for food, as you get for this period of renewal, once you have become accustomed to it. You virtually cannot live without it.
The possibility of having, in addition to those periods of meditation, the possibility of having a whole day once in a while, or a weekend once in a while, is really worth thinking about. Because there too, no one, except those who have had the experience of living for an entire twenty-four hour period in nothing but spiritual literature, spiritual meditation, and scripture, no one but these can tell you what a difference it can make in your entire life’s experience.
To actually have a Sabbath, or a sabbatical day, and to be out of this world, out of its responsibilities, out of its cares—not in the sense of an escape remember; not in the sense of taking a steamer down the river for a day; not in the sense of going to a circus; not an escape, but for the purpose of having the entire period lived in the presence of God consciously—lived in the Spirit.