"It is vain for you to rise early, come home late, and work so hard for your food. Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep." Psalm 127:2
Sabbath is a Hebrew word that means to “stop” or “cease.” In the Old Testament, Sabbath was a clear command of scripture that was a key part of the Jewish Law. “Following Jesus’ resurrection and the establishment of the new covenant, the Sabbath moved from biblical law (like the rest of the Ten Commandments) to biblical wisdom (like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, or James). It may no longer be a mandate, but it’s still a good idea, a gift from God to enjoy. Dedicating one day a week to rest from our labors…is wise and a practice of the early church.” (Driscoll)
In general, Sabbath should be seen as a habit of establishing rhythms of rest and recreation for the purpose of reminding ourselves of God’s daily control and care for us. Historically, Sabbath has been the practice of taking a certain day of the week to cease from one’s usual labor for the purpose of resting in God. The amount of time and particular day of the week that we choose is between God and us as this is no longer a mandate of scripture for a nation of people, but rather a practice that we’d be foolish to forsake.
Tips On Sabbath
- Recognize that work is not life. Margie Haack comments on the proper attitude about work, which often inappropriately consumes us: "Work is never done. A lot of it doesn't need to be done today. If, while you are resting, someone else wants to run the country, let them do it ... While I am obeying God's command to rest, He will kindly run the universe."
- Make Sunday (or your Sabbath) special. Start preparing at least the day before the Sabbath. For example: if any of your children have homework due on Monday, ask them to complete it by Saturday night. On Sunday, worship as a family. For the remainder of the day, limit outgoing phone calls to family members only. Keep the house quieter with time for naps, reading, recreation, relationship building. Avoid the usual activities that drain energy and time and can bring worry, such as shopping or bill paying.What if you have to work on Sunday? Many millions do—including all of those pastors who deliver sermons on Sunday morning. If necessary, observe your Sabbath on another day or part of a day. The idea, not strict observance, counts.
- Work together as a couple to learn what brings true rest for you as individuals, as a couple, and later as a family. For some, rest means recreation, such as a hike or jogging. For others, rest may include taking a nap or hanging out with the family.
- Remember that worship is an integral part of a day of rest. Without question, take time to praise and enjoy God during your time of rest. (Reflect on His goodness. Thank Him for His blessings.)
- Without becoming legalistic, continue to discuss and refine the ways you experience sabbath rest. Zero in on activities that encourage sabbath rest. Rake leaves, fix meals, watch football, wax the car? To what extent will you try to protect your lives, marriage, and family from the world on this special day? Be purposeful about your day of rest.
Honoring the Sabbath is like having a wheel alignment once a week. If you're not able on a regular basis to reflect on where you are headed, in two or three months you can slowly drift off track and end up in a ditch. For your spiritual, emotional, and physical health, take a sabbath break every week. (Dennis Rainey, Familylife.com)
Rightnow Media* - 2 Holy Habits Channel
• Simplify, Bill Hybels
• 24/6, by Matthew Sleeth
• Spiritual Simplicity, Chip Ingram
• Time of Your Life, Andy Stanley
• Balancing Life’s Demands, by Chip Ingram
Family Life Article by Dennis Rainey
The Sabbath Still Matters And Doesn’t by Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church
The Ancient Practices by Dan Allender (Author), Phyllis Tickle (Editor) (Buy Here)
© 2005 Michael Bischof, SOULeader Resources. All rights reserved. Copies may be made for personal or group use only.