Rest. What do you think when you hear that word? Do you wish had more time to rest? Would you even know what to do if you had time or made time to rest? Resting is an action that too many of us see as something unattainable or as something we will eventually get around to doing.
Rest is not something that is normally in our schedule we tend to view rest as something we will get around to. But we will all hit that breaking point where our mind and body crave rest. We normally hit that point when we get sick and we find ourselves saying something along the lines of, “I have just been so busy, my body just needed to rest.” Or maybe you have hit a breaking point in your mind and you feel like your mind needs a break.
We ignore the craving for rest because we are all too busy and we just cannot find the time to rest. Then when our mind and body force to take a break, normally due to sickness, we get frustrated because nobody has time to be sick.
I want to try something here. I want you to read through the list of the 10 Commandments that God gave us. As you read through make a mental check mark by the ones you follow:
Do not have any other god before God
Do not make yourself an idol
Do not take the Lord’s name in vain
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy
Honor you mother and father
Do not murder
Do not commit adultery
Do not steal
Do not bear false witness against your neighbor
Do not covet
I don’t know about you but when I read through this list I can start to feel pretty good about myself. I love checklists so its like God has given me a list to know that I am headed on the right track. But God did not ask us to follow a few of these, one of these, or even nine of these. He commanded us to follow all Ten Commandments. There is one commandment that most believers break a great deal of the time. I am so guilty of not just breaking this commandment but ignoring it all together. We would never openly confess to breaking or ignoring the Ten Commandments but most of us break at least one of these every week. The sad part about it is when we realize we should probably recognize this commandment just like the others we give some sort of excuse or justification for breaking it. Commandment number four was not created for us to abstain from something but indulge in a gift God has given us. You’ve figured it out by now but this commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 says:
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.
Too often we complain about not having enough time, being too tired, and being too busy. Yet we fail to examine our lives to see what we can do to change that. God set up parameters for us to live in so we could live a flourishing and fulfilling life, yet we step out of that on our own freewill and then question why we feel the way we do.
Exodus 31:14 tells us the punishment for not keeping the Sabbath holy was death. We will not be cut off from our community and killed because we do not follow the Sabbath because we know that Jesus came and rescued us. He saved us with His grace, but we should never cheapen that priceless grace to live at our own pleasure. Also, if we truly want to live as Jesus did we follow His example and honor the commandments as He did.
The reality is, we do not live in the time of Jesus, our everyday life looks a little different than His did. And we use that as an excuse to not adjust our lifestyles to please and live within all 10 commandments. Why do we not honor the Sabbath correctly? Probably because we do not know how to translate that to our current life. We worry so much about not being legalistic in our faith that we allow ourselves to break the laws of God. So how do we abide in this commandment without cheapening the grace extended to us and without living a legalistic faith?
Discover and decide what is “work” for you. Work is different for every person and family. Work for someone that in corporate is very different than work for a stay-at-home parent. Make a list of what is “work” for you? Is it emails, phone calls from the office, finishing a proposal, laundry, cleaning, mowing?
2) Design a Plan
Design a plan for you and or your family that eliminates work for a day. Because work is different for every person then the plan to live out your Sabbath will be different. A doctor’s plan for when to take a sabbath may be very different than a pastor’s plan. Someone who is single, their plan may be different than a family of five. The point is to design a plan of when you should rest, when you should abstain from the list of “work” you made in step one. We plan our entire lives out on calendars we should take time to plan our day of rest.
Do it. Put into practice the plan you created to honor the rest God has freely given to you. This is the really tough part. But we must be intentional about honoring God in what He has commanded us to do. If I am being honest, this step will actually seem like work at first. In all honesty, I worked so hard at trying to rest when I first became very intentional about keeping a Sabbath that I started to feel legalistic. But I quickly realized that old habits die hard, and I was actually practicing great self-control and ridding myself of unhealthy behavior and stepping into the freedom to rest.
What does this look like for me and my family? Well this family of five is a busy family like most of you. We have weeks filled with work, practices, and homework. We have weekends filled with games, birthday parties, sleepovers, large family dinners, and church. So where is the “rest” supposed to fit in to this picture? We follow the simple plan I laid out above.
My husband is an associate pastor and I am a stay-at-home mom. Work for my husband is emails, phone calls, physical labor, that has to do with the church. Work for me is laundry, cleaning, amongst many things that keep the house running. I would love to add cooking to that list but that is just a necessity, although we do try plan one meal on the sabbath to eat out or order in. That is work for us.
2) Design a Plan
For this we look at our schedules and plan for our sabbath. We do not wait for a day to open up for us to rest we create a day for rest. Just like God rested on the seventh day, He created that day for rest, we too create a day for rest. For us, this typically is on Saturdays. Which means on Friday sometimes I am extra busy. I plan throughout the week to get what I need done so I can rest on Saturdays.
We do this every week. We are intentional about enjoying our Sabbath as a family. We still attend sports for our boys, we have birthday parties we attend, but these things are not work for us. We enjoy watching our boys have fun and excel in activities and we love celebrating with friends and family. We do our best to abstain from the things listed in number one.
Now it is your turn. It is your turn to evaluate this commandment in your life. Take a piece of paper and take the simple steps to understanding what work is to you, plan to abstain from it, and be intentional about resting and enjoying life with your family on the day God created just for that. There are many blessings that await when you honor the Sabbath.