I don’t know about you, but my life has a unique ability to become overwhelmingly busy very fast. In fact, I think it is one of the biggest challenges in American culture today. We have too many things, too many expectations, too many opportunities, and too many distractions. It can leave us feeling pulled in every direction. Let me ask you a question… As you read this blog, what is pulling at you? I want to give you four major “pulls of life”. Can you relate with any of these?
Four Major “Pulls of life”:
1. Marriage – Is your marriage pulling at you? Do you feel the pull to meet your spouses needs? If you’re single, do you feel the pull to position yourself correctly to meet someone else?
2. Kids – Are your kids pulling at you? Soccer practice. Home work. Drama. Diapers. Bottles. Car seats. Baby sitter schedules. Doctor visits…. you get the point.
3. Job/ career – Is your Job pulling at you? Are you trying to get promoted? Are you feeling the pressure of keeping your job? Do you have a tough time keeping your work separated from your time with your family?
4. Finances – Are you finances pulling at you? Are you nervous about paying your bills? Having enough to retire? Paying off debt?
Whether you relate with the above “pulls of life” or not, i think we can all agree that life has a unique ability to overwhelm us and pull us in any direction it chooses. This leads to burnout, stress, poor decisions, health issues, and ultimately sin.
Lucky for us, God knew that this would be a challenge for us and He has a lot to say about it. Actually, He commands us to have a sabbath day. If you have never heard the word “Sabbath”, don’t worry, I will explain. Let me show you what God says in Exodus 20:8-11.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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. 11 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.
What is a sabbath? The sabbath is a 24 hour period where we pause from regular paid work to REST, ENJOY God’s gifts, and RE-CENTER on Christ. The Jews have sabbath from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. Gentile Christians have typically chosen their sabbath to be on Sunday. If you are not sure what day you should start with, I would suggest Sunday. Either way, the day you pick is not as important as the heart you have towards the day.
You may be thinking, “I am not Jewish and I do not live under the old covenant any more. Does the sabbath still apply to me?” Hebrews address this question in Hebrews 4:8-11. It says, “…There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
In other words, we, as Christians, should practice the sabbath and approach it as a COMMANDMENT, PRINCIPLE, and a GIFT. It’s a Commandment to follow, a principle to comprehend, and a gift to receive. I want to give you 3 actions to a healthy sabbath day.
3 Actions To A Healthy Sabbath Day
Six days of your week, you are called to grow and gain ground in your life, but once a week, you are called to rest. Every other day, you work hard, but on your Sabbath, you unapologetically rest. Do not work on your “to do list”. Don’t write another work email. Don’t make another sales call. Take one day off a week from work and rest. Your job will survive and God will be honored.
2. Enjoy God’s Creation and Gifts.
Did you know that you can enjoy God’s creation and His gifts? God did! In fact, what did God say when He finished creation? He said “It was good!” In other words, he paused for a minute and delighted in His work. Every time we delight on the Sabbath, we are reminding ourselves all that God has done for us and for humanity. He has conquered death and the grave! He has defeated the ultimate power of sin on the cross! We celebrate! We enjoy! We set aside a 24 hour period to unapologetically enjoy God’s goodness. You may be asking, “So…. What can I enjoy and not enjoy?” The answer is simple. You should do whatever refills your physical, emotional, and spiritual tank that doesn’t dishonor God. Play golf, go fishing, take your kids to the park, watch a movie, go for a run! Just make sure to enjoy yourself and refill your tank.
3. Re-Center ourselves on Christ
Did you ever notice where the placement of the Sabbath commandment is within the Ten Commandments? It is located between the first three commandments (relationship with God) and the last six commandments (relationship with man). In other words, the sabbath commandment centers our relationship with God (first 3 commandments) and man (last six commandments). It is a day to center ourselves on Christ. We are not simply taking a day off to take a day off. We want to pause from the “pullings of life” to make Jesus the main thing. It’s an opportunity to refocus on Him, what He is doing, and what He is calling us to do knowing that true rest for our souls is only found when we rest in Him. Remember the sabbath day is “Holy” and it should be an invitation for us to become more holy.
You may be asking yourself, “Can I still do ministry on my sabbath?” The answer to this question is “yes!”. Jesus explains in Mark 3:1-6. “Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”
Don’t let the “pullings of life” drag you where God never called you to go. Practice the sabbath and enjoy this wonderful commandment, principle, and gift that God has given you- Rest, enjoy, and re-center on Him.