“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The word "Sabbath" means to "stop." Stop working. Stop striving. Stop worrying. Stop accumulating. Just stop. It's a concept bound up in the fabric of creation itself. On the 7th day of creation, God stopped his work in order to rest and enjoy the fruit of his labour (Genesis 2:1-3). 

The Sabbath was also "blessed" by God. His blessing of the Sabbath indicates that this perdiod of rest is actually productive even when we are not. God's blessing comes with fruitfulness and multiplication. Something about practicing Sabbath actually creates more even when we are doing less. 

Sabbath, then, is the practice of taking a regular (weekly) 24 hour period to stop. No work. No pursuing. No striving. No "have-to's." It's a day to enjoy the fruit of our work, worship our creator, and bask in his provision. It's a day to be thankful for what we have rather than striving for more. Moreso, it's a day to enjoy our God-given freedom from the slavery of production:

“To refuse Sabbath is in effect to spurn the gift of freedom. It is to resume willingly what we once cried out for God to deliver us from” ~Mark Buchanan  

As you consider how to introduce, or strengthen, a practice of Sabbath in your life, try the following:

1. Pick a day: Sabbath is a 24 hour period of rest. In Jewish tradition, Sabbath was practiced from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night. Many Christians in history have practiced Sabbath from sundown on Saturday night to sundown on Sunday night to coincide with the Christian day of worship. If practicing Sabbath weekly seems like too much to committ to right now, no worries! Just pick a day, and try it one time. 

2. Prepare: Proper Sabbath rest requires preparation beforehand. Get the house clean, the lawn mowed, and the groceries purchased before Sabbath, so you don't have unfinished chores hanging over your head while you're try to rest. If you don't get it all done in time, don't worry about it. Sabbath is a reminder that we aren't God, and we can't do it all!

3. Rest: Find ways to rest your body, mind and spirit. Take a nap. Minimize mental stress. Meditate on God's love and care for you. Sabbath is not meant to be a lazy day, so don't overindulge. 

4. Delight: Do something you enjoy! Eat, golf, read, hike, spend time with family and friends, listen to music, play games, etc.

5. Worship: Sabbath is a celebration of the goodness and provision of God. It has always included an element of worship. That's why many people Sabbath on Sunday, so they can include a church service in their routine. Regardless, take time to thank God, acknowledge his goodness, and surrender your upcoming week to him. 

Check out the additional resources below 

Sabbath Resources

The following resources give more information about what Sabbath is, and how to practice it.