Keep the Sabbath
The following is an excerpt from our daily devotional Fellowship With the Father, written by IFA contributing writer Remco Brommet.
Exodus 20: 8–10 says: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.”
Part and parcel of slowing down to connect with God is keeping the Sabbath. The Hebrew word Sabbath means “day of rest.” It was ordained by God as far back as Genesis 2:2, when God rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done, blessed it, and made it holy.
Since we have been created in His image, we, too, have been wired to have at least a day’s rest from work. In John Mark Comer’s words, a “day to let our soul catch up with our body.” There have even been productivity studies that back that idea up. They say that a person’s productivity tops out at 50 hours a week, which adds up to about six days of work. Beyond that, even if you work more hours, you’re not being productive.
God designed us to act like Him and make this day holy — set it aside from frenetic activity and for connecting deeply with Him and with each other. To pray, to play, and to power-nap!
I’m sharing this with you out of a somewhat guilty conscience. It was not until after reading John Mark’s book that Jennifer and I started reevaluating things and realized we hadn’t been keeping a weekly Sabbath. Sure, we weren’t at our jobs, but we weren’t resting either. “Sabbath encroachment” meant setting the seventh day aside for the leftovers on our weekly to-do list — a little cleaning, a load or two of laundry, shopping, and some ministry stuff we didn’t have time for during the week. No wonder we were burning out. Our souls never had a chance to catch up to our bodies.
We’ve repented of our disobedience and become very intentional now in fighting the urge to sneak in a chore or two and making sure we keep a Sabbath day, and I can tell you — it has made a huge difference.
Have you been keeping a Sabbath? A day to truly rest, not just from your job but also from honey-do lists, housework, shopping, and all the other stuff of life? Would you be up for taking a day to turn your smartphone off and “sabbath” from the distraction it brings and just have fun? Do a puzzle? Read a book? Phone a friend? Go for a walk? We can argue all day long which day of the week it should be, but I don’t think that matters as much as the fact that you do it.
But what if you have small children? They don’t take a Sabbath from playing and needing mom or dad. A parent simply can’t take a day’s break from caring for them. I see a two-part solution to that: One, teach your children that it is important to take a day’s rest and make it a family affair — naps and all. It’s a process, but it can be taught. Second, if they are too little to get on board with the sabbath program, insert “mini-sabbaths” for yourself throughout the week. An hour here, a few hours there — to let your soul catch up with your body. It is not going to be easy, but being intentional about it can go a long way.
Today’s Prayer Assignment
I invite you to prayerfully return to the First Commandment. If God rested, so should we. It is His design for us — to let your soul catch up with your body!
So ask Him to help you create time and space for a Sabbath in whichever way works best for your life. God is very creative; He will help you to be as creative as you need to be to make it work and help you obey His command to rest.
Share your reflections on this article below.
Remco Brommet is a pastor, spiritual-growth teacher, and prayer leader with over 40 years of experience in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the U.S. He was born and raised in the Netherlands and pastored his first church in Amsterdam. He moved to the U.S. in 1986. He and his wife, Jennifer, live north of Atlanta. When not writing books, he blogs at www.deeperlifeblog.com and assists his wife as a content developer and prayer coordinator for True Identity Ministries. Jennifer and Remco are passionate about bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Photo Credit: zbindere/Getty Images Signature.
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