Should You Take a Sabbath?

     Sitting at my desk writing a blog this afternoon is the first time I have ceased from frenetic activity in several days.

I spent the last days of June at my mother’s house helping while her caregiver was off.

     She is up by 8:30a.m. so I read my Bible early and try to leave the house by 6:30a.m. to walk a couple miles on abandoned railroad tracks. When I was a child, a train used the rails twice a day so we had to listen for the rumble of an engine if we walked this route, but no longer. Now it is the roadways that are unsafe, for the cattle ranches were sold and subdivided increasing the population.

     I returned home just in time for the Fourth of July festivities beginning with the Paul Bunyan Mountain and Blues Festival in our small town. Tomorrow morning, I will post this blog before driving to a neighboring town for a parade [or when I get home].

     The fact my writing is a respite may seem odd, realistically it should be listed as work but I am not racing around from one chore or activity to the next.

     I contemplate this word “respite,” a temporary period of relief. At my desk writing, time dissipates like morning mist and I am engrossed in this creative endeavor. But it is not shabat. “To sabbath is to cease activity for the purpose of remembering God’s provision, that we might worship him as we ought,” writes Jen Wilkin in a chapter titled “The Fourth Word, Unhindered Rest” in her book “Ten Words to Live By.”

     She explains further… “More than the deliberate cessation of work for the purpose of decompressing, Sabbath is the deliberate cessation of any activity that might reinforce my belief in my own self-sufficiency. In contrast to cultural ideas of rest marked by self-care, Sabbath rest is marked by self-denial. It requires that we deny ourselves the material gain or sense of accomplishment a day of labor brings.”

     Yes, I can find rest in my writing, but that is not true rest. True rest is found in complete reliance on my Lord and Savior. David wrote about this rest in Psalm 23 describing how the Lord restored his soul. When I seek rest through writing, I attempt my own restorative measures. To shabat, I would need to “cease” writing and allow my refreshing to come from the Lord.

     The chapter on unhindered rest in Wilkin’s book has prompted much research about the Sabbath on my end. points out that Jesus is our Sabbath rest. We no longer labor to make ourselves acceptable to God by obeying the Law. In Jesus, we are made holy and righteous. This rest is discussed in Hebrews chapter 4 of the Bible.

     But I see I do labor for other things that God provides. Sometimes I refuse a break from work because I am striving to achieve security, safety, comfort… I am creating and sustaining a lifestyle of my choosing.

     There is debate on whether those who are in Christ should take a Sabbath and what this rest should be. points to Colossians 2:16-17 and Romans 14:5 as proof that “Sabbath-keeping is a matter of spiritual freedom, not a command from God.”

     As I look at reasons I don’t cease from work, I am becoming more convinced that perhaps a Sabbath would be good for my soul. How about you?

Let’s Talk:

1-If you have become convinced in your mind either to take a Sabbath or not take one what prompted your choice?

2-How do you take a Sabbath?

2 thoughts on “Should You Take a Sabbath?

  1. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for this invitation to think about Sabbath. I was led into a Sabbath practice by the Holy Spirit several years ago, which He has sustained as a means to continue to reveal Himself to me, make me more like Him, and spread the culture of Heaven in the earth. There were seasons when He appointed a specific day of rest to be observed consistently over time, but others when it was given as a gift when I least expected it. The verse that best describes how God has used the Sabbath in my life is Psalm 46:10. The stillness hasn’t been about inactivity. It’s been about a deeper measure of surrender—a more intentional response to God’s sovereignty over my days and what fills them. And as I surrender I have an experience of God’s goodness that marks me, and overflows into a Sunday through Sunday willingness to surrender my days and their fullness to Him. In other words, the Sabbath rest overflows.

    1. Your experience is very inspiring. I think you captured the essence of Sabbath and the fact that in Christ it isn’t cookie cutter but tailored to the individual. Thank you so much for sharing.

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