It’s Friday morning which means I am keeping a checklist nearby of all the tasks that I will need to accomplish before the day is over. I keep running over again in mind what groceries are at the house. “Do I have enough eggs to get me through till’ Monday? What meal can I prep for the next few days?”
When I get home from work tonight, I’ll do the laundry, clean my bathroom, make dinner for the next three nights, and make sure the house is (mostly) clean. Why do I do all this on Friday night? Because Saturday is my SABBATH day.
SABBATH is a spiritual practice that’s been around for thousands of years but somehow, I’ve began to stumble into this weekly routine only a few months ago.
The truth I have found is: we weren’t built to run without rest. Eventually it catches up with us.
If you don’t practice SABBATH or know much about it, let me give you a brief rundown. SABBATH is most simply stated as a day of worship and resting from labor. It was typically observed for a 24-hour period on Saturday and was a central to Jewish life in Bible times.
SABBATH reminds us of who God really is, and it affirms our identity just as it did for the Jews in the book of Exodus ("a sign between me and you for generations to come" Exodus 31:12-17). SABBATH reminds us that we are dependent beings in need of God. It also reminds us that God is actively taking care of us and the world around us. I have found that my SABBATH DAYS so beautifully encourage my connection with the Lord as I discover repeatedly His care for me, His Sovereignty, and His longing to be known by me. To my surprise, I have also discovered more of who I am and developed a sort of centeredness I was craving for years.
SABBATH enables us to see the goodness of the Lord in THIS season. It slows us down to see the things that the Lord is doing around and within us. When we are running at a breakneck pace during the week, it’s all too easy to miss where the Lord has been at work. In fact, I spend about an hour every SABBATH journaling about my week prior to recount my week’s activities and encounters, identify any themes, and discover what the God has been speaking to me over the last six days. This has truly been LIFE-CHANGING for me! It’s made me aware of God’s very active presence in my life, and it has kept me present to the now instead of always living for the next.
SABBATH pushes against our anxious hurry, our nagging consumerism, and our tight grip of control on life. When I started the practice of SABBATH, I didn’t anticipate these being a by-product of my Saturday routine. However, I have found time and time again the restless anxiety drain from heart as I spend quiet, task free hours with the Lord. I have also seen my compulsive need to be in control in a new light, and have found that compulsion begin to fade from my being. Most alarmingly, I have discovered that the American consumerist culture has had an affect on my time and mind in ways that I no longer want to partake in. SABBATH has caused a shift in my heart towards contentment, and it’s a wild experience.
I highly recommend SABBATH to anyone and everyone. I think it is a bit of a dying practice in our culture, but it is gold for the believer. It is of tremendous worth and value; however, I realize that defining what “work”, “rest”, and “worship” are for us individually can be difficult. So, here are some tips and thoughts about SABBATH.
SABBATH tips & thoughts:
MORE RESOURCES ON SABBATH
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Jen is a pastor, worship leader, writer, and songwriter living in Napa, California.