So why am I writing today about Sabbath? Good question, I don’t think I have this all figured out – but, the discipline of Sabbath has been renewed through a recent discussion at my small group after reading the book of Exodus. In this post I will hope to better define what the Sabbath means for Christians today.

‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; (Exodus 31:15)

The Sabbath is a contemplative spiritual discipline, meaning it is meant to refresh our spirt, mind, and allow us to adjust and align our focus and prepare for the active discipline of “work.” To Sabbath is to rest from one’s labor. In scripture we are told that heaven is an eternal Sabbath (Hebrews 4:9). It is important to examine the example that God set for us. This is the key to understanding the Sabbath. I see God modeling a rhythm of first labor and then rest to enjoy the fruit of that labor in Genesis 2:2.

So, what about Jesus? Jesus seemed to have purposely lived his life in a public way that was at times ridiculed by the Pharisees, specifically in relation to the Sabbath. We see Jesus healing on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-14, John 9:1-17), teaching on the Sabbath (Mark 6:1-2), and even promoting evangelism on the Sabbath (John 7:21-24). In these passages we see Jesus demonstrating that the Sabbath is not to be enforced legalistically, but that it exists for worshipful fun and rest. Jesus is saying that a true Sabbath is not in a day but ultimately in a saving relationship with Jesus where we can rest from trying to earn our salvation and rest in His finished work (Matthew 11:28–30; Romans 4:5; Colossians 2:16–17). To wrap this up I would say that the Sabbath is not a law for us to obey, but instead a grace to enjoy.

Read this quote from “Revolution of Character” by Dallas Willard. He said….

“When we come to the place where we can joyously do no work, it will be because God is so exalted in our mind and body that we can trust him with our life and our world, and we can take our hands off them.”

To really practice the “Sabbath” we must get to a place where we can let go of our tendencies to take control, achieve, produce, and attain gratification. The Sabbath is saying to the frantic, exhausted, distracted, over-worked fatigued, busy people of God to take a break! I need to personalize this and say to myself that even though I work in ministry, and my job is about pointing people to Christ I need to stop producing, consuming, moving, accomplishing, buying, and planning by setting aside time to find rest in Jesus. I am still pretty certain that the best way to do this is by setting aside a day, showing the world that we are different. God instructs us to work and Sabbath equally well. If we fail to do so, we might ask ourselves what our god truly is and where our faith truly lies.

Have you found a way to really trust Him with your life and world and take your hands off both?

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