Jesus-followers live within the Father’s love – and He invites us to shape our lives in ways that allow us to thrive and find fulfilment. This involves having sufficient rest, and rest that is beneficial to us. The idea of Sabbath, then, is not to adopt a new set of restrictive rules – but to establish rhythms in our lives which will enhance both our well-being, and our ability to remain in effective communication with God.
For many of us, this might involve some tension with the expectations of family, friends, or our work environment. We need to be guided by love, and seek in our choices to please our Father (which, of course, releases blessing into our lives).
The shape of this Healthy Habit will vary. Vicars and health-workers may need to work Sundays! We can all, however, plan oases of stillness in our week (and in our days). We may also, within these designated times, learn to distinguish between what is helpful and what is less helpful; between what is essential, and what is unnecessary; between what will strengthen us, and what will exhaust us.
“Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made to serve us; we weren't made to serve the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:27, The Message
The pressures that others (or we ourselves!) put on our lives can make stopping and resting quite difficult. So it’s vital to decide when our Sabbath will be and protect that time from the inevitable threats to it!
- Choose a 24 hour period (or as close as you can get) when you can plan not to do any work. It doesn’t have to be the same every week; and it could be from dusk to dusk.
- Try to assess what – in your circumstances – is unnecessary “work”.
- Plan ahead – and seek to get done in advance whatever “work” (perhaps washing, cleaning, shopping, study as well as employment) need not be done in “Sabbath” time.
- Seek to fill your “Sabbath” with time for God, for rest & relaxation, for family, for meals together.