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The Modern Sabbath

The Modern Sabbath

Lying on a sun-drenched bed in the mountainous city of Baguio City, The Philippines on a Sunday afternoon, I finally experienced what a true Sabbath is. On such lackadaisical Sundays, where the sounds of tribal dance gongs clanging all over the mountainside collided with the sweet chirping of birds outside my window, this little missionary discovered that resting can be an act of worship.

Why is it that all seven days of the week seem to be workdays to us Americans? Saturdays and Sundays are supposed to be our days off, but usually our supposed rest days become filled with wearying social events, household chores, and an endless list of errands.

I figure God was serious when He mapped out a day of rest for us. If God Himself needed a day to rest after creating this universe, we would be stupid to think the same isn’t essential for us.

Sabbath was so serious in the Old Testament that God ordered anyone who worked seven days a week to be put to death (Exodus 35:2). Obviously, we’re not under the Old Covenant anymore due to Christ’s work on Calvary, but that doesn’t mean God’s perspective on resting has changed.

The way people viewed the Sabbath in the Old Testament was changed when Jesus did unheard of things like allowing his disciples to pick heads of grain (Matthew 12) and healing a crippled woman on the sacred day (Luke 13:10).

Today there are dozens of different denominational views on the Sabbath: when it should be observed, how it should be observed…But isn’t the most important thing that we are taking time to rest, and in our resting, thinking on Him?

In modern Christianity, we have come to understand that worshipping God is not just done through singing and instruments, but through our lifestyles. But we’re so rushed in packing our lifestyles with activities that perhaps we forget that God can glory not only in our work, but even in our rest. We want so much to honor God that we pack the completion of projects even into our days of rest, when really, God would sometimes prefer that we do absolutely nothing.

In my opinion, God is not necessary looking for a specific day of your week for you to rest; He’s just asking that you would rest one day a week. For most ministers, Sunday cannot be their Sabbath. They spend the first half of their days preaching, teaching kids or leading worship. Many ministers take their day of rest on Mondays.

No matter the day, the important thing is that you are taking time to rest. Find ways to consolidate your week, fitting chores into days that are not your day of rest.

Turn on the soft music, close the shades, and light some candles on your Sabbath. Lie on your bed, and (before you doze into a peaceful nap, which will inevitably happen), think on God. Think about how all your peace in life comes from Him. And in those hours that you set aside to obey Him and rest, you will find the peace you need for the whirlwind of the other six days of your week.

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