January 17, 2019

The Sabbath—what a blessing it is. Have you ever thought about it? One day a week, we are not only encouraged, but commanded, to take an entire day off of work. I’m using that term broadly because there are many different types of work: paid employment, housework, errands, etc. And God, in his wisdom, established one day a week for humanity to follow his example and rest from our work.

Yesterday I took my Sabbath day. Yes, I am aware that yesterday was a Wednesday. I am convinced that the day of the week doesn’t matter so much as the principle: the idea that one day a week, I need to rest from all of my work. For the past year, I have been fairly good at taking a weekly Sabbath. There are times when I need to switch the day of the week on which I take one—my current regular day is Tuesday, since I don’t teach or need to be in the office on that day—and there are, I admit, still weeks here and there that I convince myself I don’t have the time to take one. Those weeks, I end up running myself ragged and regretting my decision. When I do take it, how blessed and glorious it is to allow myself, without guilt, to not check that email, not grade those papers, not write that assignment or lecture, not do that laundry, not clean that kitchen counter, not worry about what to cook for dinner … to REST.

The key words above, for me and I suspect for a lot of people, are without guilt. God tells us to take one day off a week from all types of work to rest, and somehow in our American culture many people find that very, very difficult to do. There is always something that needs to “get done,” something that we have to do that “cannot wait.” Guess what? Most of the time, it can wait. And by not taking that time, we are actively disobeying God. God, knowing how difficult resting would be for us, even put the order to rest into the Ten Commandments to make it official: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy … in it thou shalt not do any work” (Ex. 20: 8, 10, KJV). God knew our bodies and minds would need the rest, knew we would have a hard time taking the time off, and so commanded it. And I am so, so thankful for the blessing of a reason—a great reason—to take one day off a week to rest. Thank you, Lord.