Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any kind of work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; then he rested on the seventh day. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. - Exodus 20:8-11 (The Ten Commandments)
The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day forever. It is a permanent sign of my covenant with them. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but he rested on the seventh day and was refreshed. - Exodus 31:16-17
Six days are set aside for work, but on the Sabbath day you must rest, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest. - Exodus 34:21
Each week, for six days days only. The seventh day is a day of total rest, a holy day that belongs to the LORD. - Exodus 35:2.
Some commands are hard. (Lookin at you, Gluttony!) The command to rest should be easy. Who doesn’t love resting? I’ll tell you who – me.
I’ve been a Christian my entire life, but do you know how many Sabbath days I have observed? Two. And one of them was two days ago.
Actual Conversation Between God and Me
GOD: Jooooeeeeyyy, it’s the Sabbath! Rest!
JOEY: Yes, of course.
GOD: Joey, I said rest, not sit and obsess about all of the possible To Do lists you are going to make on Monday, or grocery shopping, or that spontaneous walk you will try and take on Tuesday but you will not take because you are worried about stepping in poop again, or whether or not you will purchase a Tivo, or your homework.
JOEY: But I’ve got SO MUCH work to do.
GOD: Yes, I’m aware of your schedule.
JOEY: But, but, but…
GOD: [Creates crickets just so they can make the cricket noise to highlight the silence.]
JOEY: But that’s the Old Testament!
GOD: But in the New Testament Jesus says not to worry because it doesn’t help anything and birds and flowers get taken care of and they don’t worry. Have you ever seen a flower obsess over productivity?
GOD: [Considers creating an eighth day to make two Sabbaths, just because he is exhausted from dealing with me.]
Anyway, after seeing how much God hammers home the Sabbath in Exodus, and after reading a book about the Sabbath, I finally gave in. I tried it. And it’s great.
Every week, I look forward to Sunday. I used to dread Sunday because I saw it as the last day of the week(end), and the day before Monday. Sunday was dread day. Now, Sunday is more like FUNday can I get a high five? Sunday is set apart as a gift and an offering.
Sunday is a gift because it’s a day of true rest. It’s more than just the absence of doing. My mind and my body can stay quiet. It’s a gift because when I let go of my toil and cares, I see that God is my provider and defender. My family’s well-being doesn’t come from me or Sam, it comes from God. That feels great.
Sunday is an offering because I am giving away what I usually perceive to be valuable time to get ready for the week or catch up on the previous week. What I’ve noticed, though, is that I’m more productive during the week if I take off Sunday. I think God blesses our work when we dedicate both our work and our rest to him.
I know I’m only two weeks in to following this particular commandment, but I have to say that I plan on keeping it every week. Who knew I’d learn so much from reading the Bible? Oh…