No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as God, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day—no work. (Deuteronomy 5: 12-13, the Message)
As we meet and greet our church family, there’s this often heard response: “I’ve been so busy lately!” Then we’d hear a long list of activities that seem to be eating up our lives. Yes, life is busy, and we tend to fill up every nook and cranny in our diaries in the name of productivity. Some schedule gym time, fun time, Bible time and devotion time. Others suggest we write down specific appointments with God. Yet, our jam-packed schedules still leave us breathless. Neither smiles nor laughter can hide the tensions deep down. We need Sabbath rest.
God commanded man to observe the Sabbath, because He knows our bodies function in a cyclical manner. Physically we need time off. Spiritually we need to be refreshed. “Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest day – no work.”
The key is that we must be intentional. We seek God intentionally, so that we get to know Him deeper. Sabbath is not just a means of recharging our batteries in order to do more work and ministry, though this is an obvious benefit. Sabbath is when we stop by faith, acknowledging our human limitations. We return to the Creator who knows no bounds, and allow our lives to be refocused.
Jesus was busy in his time – preaching, healing and engaging in spiritual warfare. But he insisted on times of solitude in the wilderness (Mark 1:35), stopping before God, quieting down and listening, receiving the Father’s love, enjoying God’s company. That’s why Jesus was able to live his life, and come out victorious. Jesus says, “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does.” (John 5:19)
Today we’re not required to observe Sabbath rules and regulations. But let’s not forget God’s beautiful intentions for the Sabbath. Let’s learn to set apart weekly, monthly, even annually, special times of Sabbath. Recognize these hours and days as holy, and walk into the grace of God.
Go over your average week. How many hours do you work in your main occupation? In your second job? How many hours do you spend in church-related ministry?
How much “free” time do you have remaining, and how do you spend that time?
In your average week, what is the longest continuous period of time you spend alone with God? Review how you spend that time with God.
Record your prayers and progress.
“Lord Jesus, life’s burden is heavy. Please help me enter the Sabbath rest that you offer. Amen.”