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What is the Importance of Sabbath?

Answers | Paul Middleton | 5 mins

Do you often find yourself consumed by the never-ending cycle of work, productivity, and achievement? We live in a society that values busyness and productivity above all else. But in the midst of this, there is a biblical practice that we, in most American Christian contexts have lost over time - Sabbath.

Sabbath is a vital part of our faith and a way to connect with God and our true selves. It’s not just a day of rest but a way of life. It is a sacred time to step back from our hectic lives and be intentional about connecting with God, our loved ones, and ourselves.

John Mark Comer, has this quote that I have found incredibly insightful:

"Sabbath is the antidote to our culture of hurry. It’s a day to slow down, to rest, to worship, to enjoy the good gifts God has given us, and to remember that we are not our work, accomplishments, or possessions."

So where do we find the significance and history behind the Sabbath? In the Bible, the practice of Sabbath dates all the way back to creation…

  • When God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3).

  • The fourth commandment given to Moses on Mount Sinai states, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy" (Exodus 20:8).

  • The Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest and reflection, not just for the Israelites but also for their servants, animals, and even foreigners living among them (Exodus 20:10).

  • Jesus affirmed the importance of Sabbath, stating that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27), emphasizing that it was meant to be a gift of rest and renewal for God's people.

When we practice Sabbath, we intentionally set aside time to rest and recharge, to connect with God and our loved ones, and to reflect on the gifts of life that we often take for granted. We are reminded that we are not defined by our work, accomplishments, or possessions, but by our relationship with God and each other. 

When we practice Sabbath, we detach ourselves from the demands of the world and attach ourselves to the eternal truths of God's love and grace. Sabbath is not just a religious ritual but a vital part of our overall health and wellbeing. In a culture that values productivity over rest, we need to intentionally carve out time to rest and reflect on the things that truly matter in life. Incorporating the practice of Sabbath into our weekly rhythms can be challenging, but it is essential for our spiritual and emotional health.

When we practice Sabbath, we are receiving the gift of rest and renewal from God, and we are reminding ourselves of the importance of slowing down and being intentional about our time. As Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, "The Sabbath is a sanctuary in time."

Here are three steps you can take today to bring the practice of the Sabbath into your weekly rhythms:

Set aside time each week for Sabbath.
Choose a day of the week to practice Sabbath and block off that time on your calendar. Make a commitment to yourself and to God to prioritize rest, reflection, and connection with loved ones during this time.

Disconnect from technology.
During your Sabbath time, disconnect from technology and social media. Use this time to read, journal, spend time in nature, or engage in other activities that nourish your soul and connect you to God.

Practice gratitude.
Take time during your Sabbath to reflect on the blessings in your life and express gratitude to God. This can be through prayer, journaling, or simply taking time to appreciate the beauty of the world around you. Gratitude helps to shift our focus away from the stress and busyness of life and towards the goodness and abundance that surrounds us.

Sabbath is a gift to be received, and we need to purposefully set aside time each week to receive that gift.

Written By

Paul Middleton

Husband to Andrea and father to Hannah and Rachel (#GirlDad). An extrovert who loves all things Bible. Always down for a cup of coffee and a good hang. Communications Director at Sun Valley Community Church. 

Published on May 26, 2023