I took a drive on a beautiful autumn day with the express purpose of seeing my oldest son, who for this weekend was only two hours away instead of eight, attending a medical school conference. Along the drive past estuaries and through tree tunnels, my daughter and I got on the topic of Sabbath. While we regularly attend church on Sunday, she has come to realize that a sabbath rest means quite a bit more. To come home that afternoon and pour herself into her studies until late that night, may not be the best start to the week. So she has tried to keep this commandment by working Saturday, and setting Sunday aside. Well, here we were taking the bulk of Saturday for this little excursion, while science and math tests await and worry lines start to form. So I said, just swap your Saturday for Sunday. This is a fun leisurely drive. This can be your sabbath... after all, Saturday was the day Jesus took His sabbath.
When God created the world He rested on the seventh day, and not because He needed to, but because He wanted to set up this model for us. He knew that we would need a rest each week in order to start fresh and persevere. Somewhere along the way, keeping the sabbath holy got confused with corporate worship and church attendance. It does make sense that if there was a day that nobody was working, then that would be the perfect day to get the whole group together- and hey, why not throw in a bit of Sunday school with it? But when you look to the bible you see that the apostles worshiped everyday. They studied everyday. They worked six days and had a day of rest. We are called to worship God always, and to learn about Him to draw closer and strengthen our faith. To think that this is a once a week deal really doesn't make sense.
What does make sense is taking one day to have a break from it all. Life is hard and noisy and complex. I don't think God really cares which day you take off- but if you have a day off from work, should you use it to clean out the garage, or tackle a weeks worth of laundry? Probably not. Do we do this? Probably so. Is there a way to do this differently? More than likely. It just takes planning. Plan your sabbath. Pick the day that works best and relax.
Finally, keeping the commandments can be pretty serious stuff. Yes we strive to, because God knows best, and life is better if we do... but Keeping the commandments won't get you into Heaven; and breaking them won't keep you out. I am thankful for our "Lord of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12:8). Jesus is our sabbath rest. He died for us and rose again. He is our ultimate rest from all of our toil and troubles. Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30