5 Unique Ways to Practice Sabbath Rest
One of the most neglected of the 10 Commandments is the fourth one. Most of us won’t murder someone (although we might hate them in our heart). We try to honor the Lord and not take His name in vain. Respecting our parents, while not always easy, is a commonly held value in our culture. But keeping the Sabbath holy is all but laughable in most circles.
Even if we carve out time on Sunday to worship with other believers (an optional practice for many of us), that is where our obligation ends. We go to church, we make pleasant conversation with those in the hallway, then we get home and the rest of Sunday is just Saturday 2.0 as we begin prepping for the work week ahead.
The Sabbath didn’t begin with the 10 Commandments, it was part of Creation from the very beginning. God set a pattern by resting on the 7th Day. He gazed over all of Creation and, pleased with His work, took a day to rest.
Let’s stop and think about that, God, who never tires, took time to rest.
In a culture absorbed with “self-care,” I wonder what would happen if we all took this commandment seriously?
It’s important. It’s not just about going to worship, the Sabbath is a much-needed break from the tedium of our other days. Our days should be filled so that on Sunday’s we can stop and look at what we have done with satisfaction.
We should savor the goodness of God and enjoy the day He has given us free from labor.
Here are 5 ways to practice enjoying Sabbath rest.
1) Make a Delicious Meal
I know this sounds counter-productive to resting but seriously, what says rest like eating amazing food? You don’t have to spend hours laboring over a stove, although for some that can be a relaxing part of enjoying the Sabbath. If that’s not you, crockpots can be an amazing tool! Prep the day before and throw a roast in on Sunday morning before church. When you get back home, feast and remember the goodness of God.
2) Unplug from Technology
How many of us are guilty of check our work email over the weekend? It is absurdly common and must stop on Sundays. The Sabbath is a day of rest, not a day of preparation. Read that again slowly, rest, not preparation.
We shouldn’t be spending our day of rest of the whim of another. The Sabbath should be spend not fretting around like Martha but simply sitting at the feet of the Lord like Mary. Seek stillness.
Put your phone on the counter and turn the ringer on. If someone truly needs to get ahold of you, they will call. Otherwise, it can probably wait. Resist the temptation to start looking at the week ahead and savor your Sunday but putting down your mobile office.
3) Fellowship with Other Believers
Sunday is the ideal day to spend unhurried time with friends. Invite them into your home and break out the board games. Tell each other stories and learn about life. Talk about the sermon or just watch football. The important thing is to engage with the believers in your life and to build deep, meaningful relationships with them. This comes through spending a significant amount of time with nothing on the agenda. Spending your post-Church time engaged with believers carries the worship part of Sunday morning into the rest of the day and helps sanctify your daily living. Take this time to put simple hospitality into practice.
4) Spend Time in Nature
When was the last time you went outside for the sake of being outdoors? Creation is a beautiful gift to enjoy. There are so many unexpected benefits simply from stepping over the threshold of your door and soaking in the way the sunlight dances through the shadows cast from the leaves and listening to the birds sing. Jesus told us that if we had kept silent, the rocks would have cried out in worship. Creation knows and responds to His voice. We are called to tend to it. That was the work we were charged with at Creation. When we spend time in nature on the Sabbath, we cultivate a love for what God has charged us to do the other 6 days of the week.
5) Read A Book
I’m a little biased because reading is a passion of mine but I don’t think there is a better way to recharge. Reading disconnects you from the busyness of life and forces your body to calm while your mind engages in beauty. Reading through the lectionary for the week is a great way to center your heart around the Lord and His works. Engaging with the thoughts of other believers, either in fiction or non-fiction, also has it’s purposes in resting your mind and calling your heart to holiness.
Bonus: Prep on Saturdays
Sunday has unfortunately taken the role in our week as the day of preparation for the working week instead of the day of rest. Start reclaiming your Sabbath by prepping on Saturday for both a relaxing Sunday and an easy work week.
Do your meal prep on Saturdays and sat aside an amazing crockpot meal to enjoy after church. Do your errands, cleaning, planning, etc. on Saturday. Don’t leave it for Sunday. Embrace a true day of rest by getting all of the must-dos done on Saturday and leaving anything extra for Monday. I promise, it’s worth reclaiming the holy rest God ordained for us.
Don’t give up. Reclaiming the Sabbath won’t happen overnight but I encourage you to start somewhere. It may be a swim against the stream but keeping God’s commandments is always a battle worth fighting. You will be blessed for your desire and efforts to honor Him in your work and your Sabbath rest.
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