Remember the Sabbath

“I’m not Jewish.”

That’s the argument that I continued to revert to when confronted with the fourth commandment. (Interestingly enough, I never did that with the other nine commandments.) My other argument against the Sabbath was that it was never explicitly commanded in the New Testament…which is true. But in my attempts to defend my restless lifestyle, I realized I was missing the whole point.

As Jesus so clearly taught… “Sabbath was made FOR man…” In other words, Sabbath was a gift from God FOR me (and FOR you!), and I had been missing out on it for far too long. So as I began to study and read classic books on the subject like The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel or Living the Sabbath by Norman Wirzba, I quickly became enamored with the concept. Like a kid discovering chocolate, I asked myself, “Where have you been my whole life?” 

As a serious one on the enneagram, I am continually confronted with where I (and others) are falling short. I am slave to my “to do list” and, as Pastor and father of four younger boys, there’s always more to do. Changing my schedule so I could devote a whole 24 hour day to rest and refreshment wasn’t going to be easy. But… Remember the Sabbath is a GIFT and what it initially gave me was permission to try. It also gave me permission to say “no” where I couldn’t say “no” before – to work, consumerism, and the worries of life. Even the inner critic eventually was muzzled.

As a result, most importantly, it gave me permission to say “yes”. “Yes” to more time with God. “Yes” to more time with my family. And “Yes” to simple things like naps and delicious foods I would otherwise feel guilty indulging in. Over time, the Sabbath has become a game-changer for me. Because we are “in Christ”, we are all free to practice it differently, but let me encourage you TO practice it. 

If you’re looking for a place to start, think of these four words from John Mark Comer:

Stop. Rest. Delight. Worship.

(Feel free to google his stuff on the Sabbath. It’s excellent!) We’ll be hitting each of these topics throughout the month. These aren’t rules to follow or another check-list to keep, but guiding principles for those learning the art of Shabbat. Let me just warn you newbies…Like with anything new, it will be hard at first. But… I promise it will get easier and may, perhaps, become the best day of your week as it regularly is for me. Thanks for reading all the way to the end! 😊

-Pastor Dave