Monday, April 11, 2011

The Sabbath

About a year ago I read the book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. I was pleasantly surprised how much I was encouraged by what the author had to say. One particular part of the book spoke specifically to keeping the Sabbath.

"Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy. Do all of your work in six days. But the seventh day is a Sabbath in honor of the Lord your God. Do not do any work on that day. The same command applies to your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and your animals. It also applies to any outsiders who live in your cities. In six days I made the heavens and the earth. I made the oceans and everything in them. But I rested on the seventh day. So I blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (EXODUS 20:8-11).

Sound familiar? It's one of God's "Ten Commandments". Over the past several years our weekends have become more and more scheduled. I imagine it will only get worse as the kids get older and are involved in more and more activities. There have been points where we have had to write "No plans" on the calendar for a Saturday during the month just so we could be home for once. And it's not just Saturdays that got over-scheduled, but Sundays became (and I hate to say this) the worst day of the week for us, stress-filled, restless, anxious, and hectic. Not what it was meant to be.

In the book, Weaver reminded me that God created the Sabbath for a reason. It's not just a rule he felt like giving us because he needed ten. God the creator knew that we need to rest. We need a day off. We need a day that is "set apart" from all of the other days of the week. The Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest. An opportunity to do things you don't normally have the time to do. She wasn't so concerned that the Sabbath day actually be a Sunday, but if Sunday doesn't work for whatever reason, you make it a priority to make one day out of the seven your Sabbath. Weaver takes it a step further stating that your Sabbath should be free of birthday parties, playdates, running errands, doing laundry, working, etc. But if you enjoy gardening and gardening is restful, not a chore that needs to be done, then by all means do that on the Sabbath. I think you are getting the picture.

This Sabbath reminder caused us to re-evaluate our weekends, particularly our Sundays. For the first time in several years we made a decision to make Sunday an intentional day of rest. It has been amazing how different our Sundays are now, filled with family time and rest, with no agenda, and no planned errands or chores. It's peaceful and preparatory for the work/school week ahead. And although sometimes we wind up having to schedule something or making a choice to do something we "have to do" rather then something we "want to do", I think we are experiencing the essence of God's intention for keeping the Sabbath. We are enjoying the fruit of obedience to God's command.

So I just wanted to share with you how significant preserving and prioritizing a Sabbath day has been in our family and to encourage you to consider making Sunday or another day of the week a day of rest for your family.

"God's promise of enjoying his rest still stands. So be careful that none of you fails to receive it" (HEBREWS 4:1).

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