Exodus 20:8, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
The fourth commandment among the “10 Commandments” tells us to keep the Sabbath holy. The Sabbath for the Jew was the 7th day of the week. Traditionally in the church, because we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week, we observe the Sabbath on Sunday. “Holy” means to “be set apart; consecrated.” God intends that we set apart a day each week for Sabbath. But what exactly, beyond the obvious idea of worship, does it mean to “keep the Sabbath holy?”
If we look for the first mention of the Sabbath in Scripture we must turn to Genesis 2:2-3, “On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.” God set apart the Sabbath as a day of REST! We are built with the need for rest. God provides for this need through the commandment to observe a sabbath! REST REST REST! God intends that we get some REST! So much so that God instituted a day for such at the end of His creative process. If you are reading this and finding yourself worn out and tired I have good news for you…God wants and intends for you to get some rest!
Some believe rest to simply be the cessation of work but having a day off from the office does not guarantee the observance of the Sabbath. We can make ourselves just as busy at home as we are while participating in whatever way we make a living. A sabbath is a consecrated time to worship God, consider all He has done for us and rest the mind, soul and body. If we aren’t making an intentional plan to observe the Sabbath it is unlikely, with all of the many things which encroach upon our time, that we will ever genuinely do so.
So here is a list of 10 intentional ways to Observe a Sabbath and get the rest God knows we sorely need:
- Worship with your Church Family — We need spiritual revitalization as much as we need physical rest and we receive this best in community. Prioritize your church’s worship gathering watch week and be certain you and your family are there! Protect this time and don’t allow other “good” things to take the place of this “BEST” thing. When considering whether to miss worship ask yourself the question, “If I had to literally stand before God and tell Him my excuse for missing worship today would I feel justified or embarrassed by my words?” This little exercise will tell you right away whether your plans for missing church are ill conceived.
- Take a Nap — Believe it or not napping can be VERY beneficial to your overall health and productivity. Just check out this article at the National Sleep Foundation for proof of such. But many of us have a hard time taking time for a nap during the course of our week. Most of us are chronically sleep deprived. The CDC tells us that sleep deprivation is a public health concern among American adults. So catch up on your Zzzz’s on Sunday afternoon!
- Unplug Yourself — Turn off your cell phone, tv and radio. Take a break from technology and let your mind rest. Enjoy the peace and quiet of a home void of constant “dings” “rings” and “alerts.”
- Go Outside — Your mama once told you to go outside and play and many of us need to hear her say it again! Get outside and enjoy the sounds, smells and “feel” of nature. Take time to see the clouds, feel the grass and smell the flowers. Go for a walk, sleep in a hammock, ride your bike. Make time to reconnect with the great outdoors again!
- Play with Your Children — Go outside and color the sidewalk with chalk alongside your two year old. Work puzzles with your toddler. Play catch with your eight year old. Ride a bike with your 10 year old. Enter the world of a child for a few hours and remember what it was like to live life without a care in the world!
- Have Coffee with Your Spouse — Sit down and talk to one another about fun things. Lay aside the “stress talk” of money and problems to spend some time chatting like you did when you were dating. Talk the fun stuff and just enjoy listening to what one another thinks about the world.
- Read a Book — Read something for fun! Enjoy entering another world and time through the pages of a favorite author. Revel in one of your favorite interests as you deepen your understanding of a favorite hobby. Just relax and enjoy turning the pages in the midst of some peace and quiet.
- Take Turns Watching the Kids — If you have little ones running around it may be difficult to enjoy the Sabbath without the cooperation and help of your spouse. So one of you enjoy time with the kids outside while the other reads, naps or enjoys some much needed time alone. Then switch places! Cooperate with one another and help everyone observe a good Sabbath.
- Listen to Some Tunes — Put on the headphones and relax on the couch as you listen to your favorite band. Listen to something that takes you back to a simpler time in your life. Listen to something which might help you relax and enjoy peace.
- Get a Massage — Ok here is one you and your spouse can do for each other. Get and receive a back rub. Let go of the knots and tight muscles as you help one another release some of the physical stress of the week.
How will you begin to have an intentional time of rest as a family?