The Joy of Sabbath Rest

by Aaron


Sundays are my favorite day of the week. It’s not because I get to go to church, even though I am always excited to gather with other believers for worship. It’s not because my place of employment is closed that day, so I don’t have to work. It’s not because the Walking Dead comes on at 9, even though that show is cool.

Sunday is my day of rest. But not the kind of rest you might think of. I don’t just relax. I seek Sabbath rest.

We never think of the Sabbath as a big deal anymore. After all, didn’t Jesus say we don’t have to keep it anymore? Technically speaking, no he didn’t. What he said was:

The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. (Matt 12:8)

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)

Jesus did tell the Pharisees that their extra rules they had added to the Sabbath were bad. He told them it was okay to heal on the Sabbath. It is okay to get an animal out of a pit on the Sabbath.

So what is Sabbath rest? I could give you a theological definition of it, but you are still not going to know what to do with it, so let me tell you what it looks like in my life.

It is usually Sunday for me, however, that is not required. Church worship is on Sunday and you should attend that, but the day that you seek Sabbath rest is going to depend on your schedule.

On that day, I lay aside my weekly jobs. My place of employment is closed, so I don’t have to worry about working. I refuse to do homework on that day. I don’t do laundry, dishes, or any chores.

For at least a few hours, I turn my cell phone off and stay off my computer, unless it is needed. During that time period, I allow the Spirit to lead me in my activities. I do things that are going to center my mind and my heart on the Lord.

I may spend several hours in the Word. I may have a time where I just sing and pray. I read Christian books that are not required for my seminary classes. I might write a blog post. I might journal. I might listen to a sermon. If it’s nice weather out, I might go to a park and go for a walk or a hike and spend that time meditating on the things of God.

Whatever the Spirit leads me to do, I spend that time period with the Lord, seeking his presence, and worshiping him. This is what Sabbath rest is. Jesus is the greater Sabbath. Sabbath rest isn’t relaxing on the couch. It’s relaxing in Jesus.

God made the Sabbath for man’s benefit! He made one day a week for us to rest, but the rest that is best for us is rest in Him.

So start taking a day off every week. Reorganize your schedule and your to-do list in a way in which you can. No matter which day of the week you do it, spend that day putting away as many distractions as possible and seek the Lord of the Sabbath.