Over the last several years I’ve had conversations with my friend, Pastor Drew Anderson, about what it means to participate in Sabbath.
Too often this conversation becomes about taking time off or going on vacation. And while this may be a part of what it means to take Sabbath, this is not the primary emphasis for this idea.
I have been struck by the fact that too many in the Western church do not understand what it means to take Sabbath. And I say that including myself into that group. We have become so accustomed to filling every moment with activity. The idea of stillness bothers us. So much so that we can spend hours endlessly scrolling through social media feeds or news aggregators.
But what actually does it mean to take Sabbath? It’s an important question. One we must do better to answer for ourselves. So I will attempt to offer my thoughts on this topic today.
I think the primary focus of Sabbath should not be inactivity or mindless stillness. I think the primary focus of Sabbath should be a purposeful and intentional attentiveness to God. This can include an increased awareness of those things which God has blessed us with. But the idea is not to become enthralled are entangled with what’s around us. The goal should be to look at our surroundings, to consider God’s presence, and then to rejoice in those things.
One way of thinking about it can be of having a holy detachment from the world so we can see what we have around us as the gifts from God that they are.
The primary focus of Sabbath should be a purposeful and intentional attentiveness to God.Tweet
This is not always easy. The circumstances of life can cloud our ability to do this. But I think that should give us more reason to try. To try and take the time necessary to consider what God has been doing in our lives. To give thanks to God just because he is God.
Being rested is not merely about getting enough sleep. Being rested is a spiritual state where we are not restless. We are not constantly burdened by the stressors of life.
I’m not saying we act as if nothing is wrong. I’m saying we cultivate a mindset that in the midst of all that is happening we will take time to spend with God. This is something we must do consciously. We have to make time for it. In much the same way God made time for it in the creation story. God declared the day of Sabbath and commanded that we must participate in it. This is not an incidental command because God had grown tired of creating. This was an act of Revelation for our sake.
Therefore, when we fail to take heed of this admonition, we do so to our own detriment.
I would encourage you to find some time tomorrow to rest with God. For many, it is impractical to do it all day. But it would be wise for us to begin with a set time dedicated to being with God. As we do this we will begin to experience a sense of greater peace. Not necessarily because all life’s problems of going away. We will find an abiding peace within us because we know, in a new way, how faithful God has been to us. And when we have a renewed appreciation for God’s goodness, we can look forward knowing God will continue to be good regardless of what happens on life’s road.