Thursday, January 19, 2012

4 reasons to sabbath

you have probably heard many words to describe people like me.  type A.  workaholic.  highly motivated.  productive.

let me put forth a new one: idolator.

to explain, let me back up.  i have always been a hard worker.  in high school i took the toughest classes, worked multiple jobs and participated in numerous extra-curricular activities, sleeping 5-6 hours per night and often skipping church to keep up with it all.

college was pretty much the same story.  i would devote hours each week to my job and school activities, and sunday was my day to catch up on all my homework.

senior year i started dating alex, and we were assigned to plan a spring break mission trip to louisiana (this was around the time that hurricane katrina hit the south and many houses were still in need of repairs).  we needed to get together to do some planning, and i suggested meeting that sunday.

"i don't work on sundays" was his reply.

i was shocked.  wasn't the whole sabbathing on sunday thing rather old fashioned?  do people really even do that any more?

as i learned more, i began to respect alex for his decision not to work on sundays.  i couldn't quite take that step for myself yet, but after i graduated college i did start to practice a healthy sabbath every week.  and it has become one of my best life practices.  at times it is easy, and at times it is more of a discipline,  but overall i am so joyful and thankful that one day every week, God not only allows me to rest, but commands me to rest.

'Day 45: Day of Rest' photo (c) 2010, truds09 - license:

i hope that you too have the joy of a weekly sabbath.  consider the following:

sabbathing is an active form of trusting God 

imagine life when the sabbath was first instituted.  most people had to grow their own food to survive.  if they didn't grow it, they didn't eat it.  farming is hard work, and they needed to spend hours every day working on their farming and tending livestock, in addition to making clothes and many other daily living tasks.  if they slacked for even a few weeks, it could potentially ruin an entire year's harvest, leading to possible starvation and death for their family.  now imagine those people being told to stop working on their farm one day of every seven.  to obey would be a HUGE act of faith in God's provision

in comparison with that scenario, it seems almost silly that we find it hard to sabbath, we who can get food, clothes or almost anything else we want from the store at any time.

but the act of faith remains: to sabbath, we are trusting that God will allow us to get more done in six days than seven.  or we need to trust that what we desire to do is more (and unnecessary) than what God desires for us to do.  either way, our actions speak louder than words: sabbathing shows more faith than merely saying (or thinking) that we believe that God provides.

the sabbath is a gift

to reject the sabbath is to reject a blessing from God.  like a loving father, he knows what we need and had provided it through the sabbath.  why would we want to reject such a beautiful thing that he freely gives us?

i really enjoy taking a day to rest each week.  i am sad for all the years that i rejected this weekly blessing.  in my eyes, this is probably the biggest and most compelling reason that we should take a day of rest.

God created us to sabbath

numerous studies show that taking a day of rest each week is beneficial.  conversely, it is also well known that overwork and stress is one of the most damaging factors to our health.

God created humans to sabbath, and when we go against His good design for our lives, we suffer consequences.  if God himself rested on the 7th day, who are we not to follow his example?  it can only stem from pride.

sabbathing points us forward to eternal rest.

jesus said, "in this world you will have trouble" (john 16:33).  work is hard, having kids is hard.  for those who have turned away from sin and believe in jesus' gift of forgiveness, there will be eternal rest. i am greatly looking forward to it.

taking a mini-rest each week helps us eagerly anticipate the eternal rest that God has laid out for His children.

to go back to my above word (idolator)...  for me, i know that i did not take a sabbath, because my heart was worshipping things besides God (such as good grades, money, and the admiration/respect of others).  are you worshipping something besides God that gets in the way of your sabbath?

have you seen benefits in your life of taking a sabbath?


  1. i liked this post sarah. i am curious though, what does "rest" really mean? the word has been interpreted on varying levels by different christian denominations. i'd love for you to expand on what it means for you and your family to "rest"!

    1. yes, i have heard many definitions. for one mom i know, she wont do any house work, including preparing meals (does it the night before) or cleaning dishes (leaves them in the sink til the next day).

      it was easier when i worked a job. back then, i just wouldn't do any work related things (including email) on sundays.

      now, since homemaking is my job, the line is more fuzzy. i try not to do non-necessary housework on sunday. i see food prep and cleaning dishes as necessary, but i avoid things like laundry, running errands and cleaning.

      furthermore, i make it a priority to hang out with people (fellowship) on sundays and to read the bible more than on a normal day.

      i'm still not perfect at all of this, but that is what i aim for. :)