The Sabbath as a Blessing

By: Christina Bowman

We have all had weeks when we’ve been bogged down with meetings, classes, chapels, homework, practices, the attempt at a social life, and more. Look at the upcoming week. Is it completely full? If you are a college student, probably; if you are an adult, it could involve going to work and running your kids around, and you may be even busier. Our lives are inevitably fast-paced, and at times we are so accustomed to it, we hardly know any different.

Exodus 20:8-11 says, “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” Originally, the Sabbath was a Jewish practice recognized not only as the Lord’s day, but also as a day to rest. It was later that Christians also took hold of this tradition, making the Sabbath not the seventh day, but the first of the week. While this is a practice traditionally upheld by Jews and Christians, it is also recognized by many non-Christians. This is something we all search for in our lives: a seventh day, a time of rest. Whether it is a time to think, to be with others, or to do something enjoyable, looking past our obligations is something we should practice intentionally.

We have this gift of the Sabbath to commit our full attention to rest in Christ, but many of us don’t use it. It sounds crazy; why would we not take a day made for rest, and actually rest? Ted Bauer, in his 2014 article “Only About 1 in 10 Americans Can Balance Being Busy with Being Happy,” said: “It’s actually instinctive to seek busyness. As a whole, people don’t like being idle or bored, or even left alone with their thoughts. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that when given a choice, people will say they prefer to do nothing—but then, even the tiniest justification is enough to convince people to fill their time.” Whether it’s the need to be busy, the desire to get ahead, or any other reason we may have, we should feel encouraged to work past this urge and to accept this day for what it is. Mark 2:27 tells us, “And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’” This being said, even though as human beings we are not naturally inclined toward relaxation, we should accept this gift.

So what does this look like? For me, it involves working to get my homework and work done Monday through Saturday and leaving Sunday open for church, spending time with family and friends, and resting. I am making the resolution and goal to rest on the seventh day. The best day for me to do this is on Sunday; for other college students it may be Saturday, or for some adults it could be whatever day they do not work. However, it is most important to remember that the Sabbath is both a blessing and gift.

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