What is the Sabbath and why do I need it to rest?

Matt Mylin   -  

‘”Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath”‘ (Mark 2:27). Rest is a necessity for living (click here for more on this). Jesus is clear that the Sabbath is a specific day with a specific purpose – to meet the needs of people. The Sabbath is not just a day off or a summer vacation. Practicing Sabbath is a rhythm to follow, a proactive step to stop and receive from God, a 24-hour timeframe blessed by God and set apart for rest and worship. My observation is that without a specific plan, it’s easy to forget the purpose and practice of the Sabbath. This might help: Here are four questions to help you make a plan for practicing Sabbath:


1. Why are you practicing Sabbath?

It’s vital to have a specific answer to this specific question. Here are a few reasons you might practice Sabbath: To follow God’s design for work and rest, to obey his command to take a weekly Sabbath, to break the power of discontentment in your life, or to experience God’s blessings in your life. For me, practicing Sabbath started with a desire to obey God’s command. Now, I desire pausing from my work to be refilled by God’s presence and enjoy his blessings in my life.

2. When is your 24-hour timeframe?

It’s important to designate a start and stop time for your Sabbath. I strongly suggest the practice of starting your Sabbath in the evening of one day and continuing through the evening of the following day. In my experience, starting in the evening, usually with a meal, leads to a great night of sleep and makes it easier to pause.

3. How will you pause your ordinary work?

Pre-decide how you will unplug from work. I’ve found that this is an art form and takes being intentional. Pausing from daily tasks looks different for each person. For example, some people run five miles as a refreshing way to exercise. For others, that sounds like grueling punishment and would not be a way to spend the Sabbath. Consider the following in advance: How does technology affect your ability to pause and not be distracted? How can you break from your ordinary work in your home? Leaders, how can you structure your department in a way that influences your team not to work seven days a week? Students, how can you structure your schedule to include six days of studying and one day of rest?

4. What will you do to rest and worship?

Again, practicing Sabbath is learning and following God’s rhythm for work and rest, not about obeying rules (click here for more on this). It’s about being refilled by God’s presence and enjoying his blessings in your life. When you practice Sabbath, take time to thank God for his provisions, spend time with the people who are life-giving (click here to sign up for a Group at Worship Center), and find ways to recharge the battery of your soul.

To learn more about God’s design for the Sabbath and why it’s important for us to follow, click here to watch or listen to my sermon. A rested soul prepares you for a new week of fulfilling the work that God has called you to accomplish. I hope you try it!