A few years ago, my family decided to make it a practice to better observe the Sabbath. This was a personal conviction for me in particular because I felt like I was always so busy and never felt refreshed. I’d work hard all week with the kids and in the house and spend the weekend trying to prepare for the same thing next week.
In the beginning, this was very hard for me, just relaxing on a Sunday watching football with my husband and my kids playing in the background. It felt like such a waste of time, there was so much I could be getting done!
It wasn’t until I was in a really busy season of life that I realized how important Sabbath rest was. We had been practicing it for some years so when life got crazy, it was the one thing that kept me going — knowing I would have a day or rest coming soon.
I remembered God’s instructions to the children of Israel as they were entering into the promised land. The Israelites had come from a life where work was all they knew. They worked day in and day out, seven days a week, no breaks. It was a very hard idea for them to have a day of rest. They had become so accustomed to always working, that the day of rest seemed like a foreign idea to them. But God knew that rest was vital for their health, spiritually, physically and mentally.
After incorporating an intentional Sabbath into my life, I can better understand God’s reasoning in instructing his children to practice and observe the Sabbath. The Bible says that God worked for six days and on the seventh day he rested. Now we know that God doesn’t get tired and he doesn’t get sleepy, but he was setting a good example as our heavenly father. We as humans get tired, we get sleepy, we get cranky. And if we don’t care for these earthly bodies we have, they will begin to shut down!
Just like we take our cars in periodically to have the maintenance, we need to do a weekly maintenance of our lives, allowing ourselves to have one day disconnected from the busyness of our lives. The idea of turning off or unplugging for one day may seem like a foreign concept to many, but you would be amazed at the benefits you could discover by intentionally resting and enjoying the Sabbath.
Sabbath isn’t some super religious practice for only pastors or leaders. The word Sabbath simply means to cease work. Everyone can do this! The great thing is that you can decide how your family can rest that day. Maybe you take a break from television, phones and video games and choose to find other artistic outlets like drawing, reading or cooking a meal together. Maybe you go for a walk or bike ride together. My family worships together at church and then we fellowship with our extended family for a bit.
The main idea is to take a break from the everyday crazy that life brings. It’s is so refreshing to know that every week, I have a break from my to do list, my obligations and appointments and can truly rest in the gift of the Sabbath.
In one word how would you describe your day? Your week? Your life? So often now when you ask someone how they’re doing, the response you get is “busy”. How’s work? How’s school? How’s the kids? Busy…
In a world where we are constantly available and constantly on call, what would it be like to have one day free of the everyday distractions or life? One day without a to do list or errands to run?
The first Sabbath rest in the Bible is actually taken by God. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” -Genesis 2:2-3
In the book of Exodus, we see the next mention of Sabbath rest when God is giving the commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
““Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” -Exodus 20:8-11 NIV
There are so many varying ideas amongst Christians as to whether or not to observe a Sabbath. Many argue that it’s under the law or old covenant. Many argue about what day it should be observed. The Bible is very clear about the freedom we have in Christ so whether you choose to practice this is between you and God and no one else.
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17 NIV
I just know that for my family, it is not a commandment or task we dread or have to do. It’s an opportunity to recharge ourselves and spend time together. It’s an opportunity to set boundaries around the sanctity of our family and faith. It was made for us, not us for it.
If you are interested in adding some ways to observe the Sabbath, here are some things we do:
- Restrain from unnecessary buying
- Take a nap
- Spend time with family
- Read, play games together
- Limit screen time, social media and personal device usage
- Take a break from cooking and cleaning
- Look at family photos
- Watch a movie together
Remember, Sabbath rest is a gift, not a chore and it is a great way to bring in the new week by feeling rested and refreshed!