Listen. God created the world in six days, but rested on the seventh, not because he was exhausted, but to give our world rhythm: work six days, but rest and enjoy him on the seventh. God rested because we need rest. This special day was called a Sabbath and it is laid out in Exodus 20:1-2, 8-11.
The Israelites in the Old Testament were required to take a Sabbath from Friday evening until Saturday evening. This was a day set aside to rest from all paid and unpaid work, remember God, spend time with loved ones, enjoy the world that God made, and participate in activities that made the day special and brought joy and rest.
The New Testament does not clearly require followers of Jesus to take a Sabbath, but perhaps we are asking the wrong question. It is not “do we have to?”, but “do we get to?” We can take a rest.
Discussion. The Israelites put a lot of rules in place, not because people were taking too much time off, but too little. Activities were creeping in that robbed the people of rest. Why do we find resting and taking a Sabbath so difficult? What obstacles get in the way?
How can you carve out a twenty-four hour Sabbath in your schedule? How will you remember God on that day? How will you connect with those you love? How will you enjoy the world God has made? What activities bring you joy and rest, and how can you make this a part of your Sabbath?
Set Goals. Make a plan to take a twenty-four hour Sabbath each week. If your life is crazy at the moment, think about starting with a four hour or eight hour sabbath and build from there. Who in your life will you teach about the practice of Sabbath?
- Listen to God. Sit silently in his presence; listen for his voice, submit yourself to his will for the day.
- Respond to God. Pray through the outline of the Lord’s Prayer: worship, surrender, daily needs, forgiveness, and protection.
- Bible Reading. Read the Bible as a disciple, listening to what God has to say, responding with obedience, repentance, worship, and trust, and sharing with others what you are learning.
- Praying for your five. Pray for five people in your life that God will work through the circumstances of their life so that they are open to follow Jesus. Pray for opportunities to invite them to follow Jesus with you.
- Prayer with others. Pray with spouse, family, and others.
- Discipling Friendships. Cultivate friendships with others for the purpose of following Jesus together.
- Community Worship. Join with fellow believers to receive the Gospel through the Word and communion and respond with worship and prayer.
- Participate in trainings that develop your gifts and deepen your walk as a disciple of Jesus.
- Give your time, money, and talent. Give what God has entrusted to you to love your neighbor, make disciples, and strengthen the church.
- Sabbath. Take a twenty-four hour break, where you cease from all paid and unpaid work. Connect with God, family, and friends. Rest. Play. Enjoy activities that recharge you.