By Captain Ryan Boyd
Denver Red Shield Corps, CO – Intermountain Division
I once had a friend who asked me what I did on my day off. When I started listing the unending responsibilities I had at home, she cut me off and said it didn’t sound much like a day off to her. “Well, if I don’t get them done on that day, when will it get done?” was my exasperated reply.
Busyness is often worn as a badge of honor in our society. We book back to back meetings and activities and wonder why we are always exhausted. We were not made to go all day every day. Like our electronics, we need a time to recharge our batteries.
Exodus 20:8-11 says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
It seems to me that we have taken the ten commandments and made them nine commandments and a suggestion. We treat this instruction from God as an optional activity instead of the mandate it is. As the Israelites are heading to the Promise Land, God gives Moses instructions for them so that they will live in a way that pleases God. We know that the first four relate to our relationship with God and the last six relate to our relationships with others.
God knew it was important for us to rest. Not sleep in, not have a lazy Saturday, but to rest. To trust in Him to provide for our needs. Now, most of my Sabbaths involve sleeping in because that is what my body needs to refresh. Even if it is just thirty extra minutes, I feel it when I wake up. But Sabbath rest goes much deeper. It is resting from my work knowing that I am not the one who makes the world go around – God is. I am not the one in control – God is. And when I spend my time dwelling in that knowledge, I can enter the rest that God provides.
But Sabbath rest goes much deeper. It is resting from my working knowing that I am not the one who makes the world go around – God is. I am not the one in control – God is.Captain Ryan Boyd
In Mark 2:27-28, Jesus tells the Pharisees that man was not made for the Sabbath, rather the Sabbath was made for man. Taking a Sabbath is not something we do because we want to check off something from our “Good Christian” to-do list. It is not meant to be a burden at all. Instead, it was made for us to refresh and delight in what the Lord has provided for us. We are supposed to be joyful during our Sabbath. Originally, it was intended to give reprieve to the Israelites who had the mindset of an enslaved person – their brains told them they needed to work all day every day. God said no – my plan for you is better. Enter into the rest I provide.
The Pharisees morphed the Sabbath into something it was not intended to be – rigid rule following. They burdened the Israelites with their preferences instead of sticking to God’s intentions. And the people suffered for it by missing out on the freedoms that Sabbath provides. Ray Stedman wrote, “So there are two aspects of the Sabbath—creation and redemption. There is a rest of cessation; a ceasing from our own works. But then there is the rest of rejoicing in the mighty delivering power of God.”
So there are two aspects of the Sabbath – creation and redemption. There is a rest of cessation; a ceasing from our own works. But then there is the rest of rejoicing in the mighty delivering power of God.Ray Stedman
If you are anything like me, rest feels weird. I always feel as if there is something I am supposed to be doing. Only in recent years have I been able to start fully resting on a Sabbath day. I would love to have the same day every week, but scheduling makes that impossible. So I take it where I can. I take Fridays off so that I can get all my errands and schoolwork done so that Saturdays are clear for rest and delighting in the blessings God has given me. If I can’t make Saturday work, I find a different day.
We prioritize what is important to us. Making adjustments to create space for Sabbath is hard, but so worth it. Resting in the knowledge that God is in control brings a peace that cannot be described.
Take a Sabbath. Rest. Obviously it is important for us to do, because God made it a commandment.