Then he (Jesus) said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27
The verse above is a response given by Jesus when the Pharisees accused his disciples of doing what was “unlawful” on the Sabbath. Their offense was plucking heads of grain (technically harvesting), and this was considered work and forbidden. However, Jesus reminds his listeners that the Sabbath was created for the benefit of humankind — the many rules and regulations were added later by men in an attempt to define what a day of rest should mean.
The word Sabbath literally means “to cease.” You might think of it as a sort of reset button. Just as your computer sometimes freezes up and needs to shut down and be restarted, humans need a cue to stop and refocus. The demands of weekly living pile up– we become overwhelmed and distracted. We need to reboot and get our focus back, and that focus should be on God, the One who created and sustains us.
Naturally that means a Sabbath should include worship. What kind of worship is up to you. I’m a liturgical person, but not everyone is. Maybe the worship style that suits you is more contemporary. It really doesn’t matter, as long as it slows you down and puts God back in His proper position in your life. Afterwards, well, once again, we relax and recharge in different ways. I like to curl up with a good book, but for some people that’s “work.” I have friends who find it relaxing to garden, but that’s a chore to me. Some might enjoy going hiking, where they see God in the beauty of creation; others feel their heart soaring when they listen to music. Maybe you just want to cook and enjoy a wonderful meal with friends or family. God made each of us differently, and it’s okay to enjoy the Sabbath rest in our own way. Maybe your weekly Sabbath can’t even occur on Sunday. That’s okay too.
God doesn’t need anything from us. He’s God, after all. It’s we who need to stop, to worship, to rest and remember why we’re here and to whom we belong. Don’t neglect the Sabbath. It’s a gift from God and he created it just for you!
For more on the Sabbath see this post: