But rather than taking this commandment seriously, we often brag and complain about how busy, how overworked, and how stressed out we are. Sadly often our self-worth can become caught up in how much we can produce rather than to whom we belong. I’m as guilty as anyone else. All pastors in our Presbytery have an extended Sabbath built in our call packages. After serving for seven years, we are to take a three month sabbatical. It’s year 13 for me at Kanapaha and I’m finally going on my first sabbatical in August. Observing Sabbath is a reminder that we are loved because we are God’s children, not for what we can accomplish.
The word “Sabbath” in Hebrew means rest. The heart of Sabbath is that we stop working so that we can rest and delight in God’s good gifts. When God rested on the seventh day, it wasn’t because God was tired; the Lord stopped to delight in the creation. Sabbath gives us time to slow down and delight in what we’ve accomplished over the last week and in the blessings God has shared with us.
Observing the Sabbath means carving out time for reflection. In the book of Psalms, David says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Reflection includes examining our lives, our goals, our priorities. It’s a chance for us to think about the week behind and the week ahead. It’s a chance to give serious consideration our lives.
Finally, Sabbath is a time for renewal. Christians have observed the Sabbath on Sunday since 312 AD when Constantine declared Sunday as the official day of rest, In the early church, Sunday came to symbolize renewal because of its connection to the Resurrection. Our Sunday should be a chance for us to experience renewal as well. The best way is by attending church. The songs (hymns), the prayers, the scripture, and the preaching should lead us into closer fellowship with God. The time spent in church is less than 1% of your week, but it is often the most important hour of your life in any given seven day period.