What does the Sabbath mean to you? Is it strange, maybe a little foreign?
The Sabbath used to be a far off concept to me. I thought it was old and unnecessary. But truly, I never really understood it and I didn’t care enough to try and figure it out. That is until a few months ago when I heard several people talking about it in conversation. Again, the word Sabbath rarely, if ever, made its way into my conversations. But I kept hearing about it and the value of cherishing it. So, naturally, I decided to read a book about it. The book “Soul Rest” by Curtis Zachery is excellent if you are curious about what the Sabbath is and how to implement healthy practices into your life. It’s an easy read and CZ is not some historian that writes in a boring unidentifiable tone. He uses common language and tells his story of coming to understand what the Sabbath means.
Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
For the last three or four months, I have been observing a Sabbath day. Without being super historical, Jews follow a Friday night to Saturday night Sabbath while Christians typically observe it on Sunday. I use Sunday but it really does not matter for the purposes of this writing or your practice. That was part of the learning experience for me. I had always been under the impression that the Sabbath was a time to do nothing. Rest. That was all I knew to be true of the Sabbath. And if you decide to Google it or just flip through your Bible you’ll find that the Sabbath is used primarily in the Old Testament and can get pretty boring as a general subject. It’s all very traditional and I think that is why so many people overlook it or dismiss it.
I’ve come to understand that physical rest is not necessarily the meaning of the Sabbath. It isn’t about NOT doing anything but instead, it’s about doing only the right things. I think it’s about letting go of routine and adding value to the places in your life that desperately need attention. Our souls need attention. They need rest but not in the way we typically think about rest. The kind of rest your soul needs does not look like sitting on the couch and not moving all day. I think it requires tuning out social media and other “plugged in” activities. I think it looks like picking up a hobby that fuels you and does not add to your daily stress. For me, it looks like very little phone time. I try to be more intentional about my prayer time and the things that I read.
So, now, on Sunday of every week, I try to reconnect. I make a point to stay off of social media completely and ultimately stay away from my phone in general. Take just a minute and think about how much of your day you spend focused on a screen, whether it’s a computer at work, your TV at home, or your phone for everything in between. I find myself surrounded by screens and I don’t think we are meant to be. I think we need to be intentional about separating from those earthly distractions and connecting to our soul charger, Jesus.
Mark 2:27 “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’”
Don’t make the Sabbath another set of rules to follow. I think Jesus shows us this perfectly in the verse above. The Sabbath, again, is not about doing nothing, but instead about doing more things that add value to your life. Bring renewal to your life, at least once a week. I asked my wife what she thought of when she hears the word Sabbath. Her response was one that I think fits well here, “it’s a weekly tune-up, and a time to check in with God and find rest in His presence.” My only caution is that you not let the Sabbath become another ritual. Do not let it be another checklist during your week. Find some things that you genuinely enjoy and that bring you into a deeper connection with God. I don’t think He cares what it is as long as you find Him there.
- I started the Advent series in the He Reads Truth app. I think their content is free online but the app does have small fees for the devotions, FYI. They are short and easy to read with more verses that commentary. A good way to start a morning with coffee. Ladies, She Reads Truth is the same thing, I think.
- That Sounds Fun Podcast
- Ed Mylett Podcast
- Jessica Honneger Podcast