Balanced Life

The Secret to Taking a Sabbath Day of Rest

The pace of our society is go, go, go. All day, every day, we’re battling with our to-do lists.

So the idea of resting for one day each week seems like a quaint, old-fashioned ideal that you’d see in a Norman Rockwell painting.

We know that we should have a day of rest, but our schedules just don’t allow it right now. Maybe someday. But this week? Seven days of work aren’t enough – how can we possibly take a day off?

But there’s one powerful mindset change that can revolutionize how we approach a day of rest. It can make that elusive Sabbath day a reality.

The Other Six Days

In my own efforts to have a weekly rest, my turning point was realizing that a Sabbath day wasn’t about taking off one day a week. That’s not what makes a day of rest happen.

The critical factor in a day of rest is what happens the other six days.

When I first decided to begin taking a weekly day of rest, I focused only on my day off. My approach was to block off a day as a day of rest and to go about my business the other six days like normal. Not surprisingly, that didn’t work.

To properly take a day off, I had to buckle down and work harder the other six days. And I had to trust that God would bless my six days of work, making them fruitful enough to accomplish what I felt I needed seven days to do.

The Biblical Formula: Work and Trust

And this is clearly the biblical view of the Sabbath.

When enacting the Sabbath, God points out not only the command to rest but the command to work six days:

Exodus 34:21
Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

After forbidding the people to gather manna on the Sabbath, God tells the Israelites to trust him – trust him that he will bless their efforts during the week and give them enough manna left over to last them through the Sabbath.

Exodus 16:29-30
“See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day.

When discussing a Sabbath year for the land, God promises the same. When the people worry, he tells them to trust in his blessings. He will cause them to prosper so much when they do work that they will be able to let the land rest for an entire year.

Leviticus 25:20-21
“And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years.”

Putting It into Action

Taking a Sabbath isn’t about waking up one morning and just deciding to do nothing that day. Instead, pray for increased productivity for the other six days. Work hard, trusting him to bless your efforts.

And then on your day of rest, continue to trust him. Resist the urge to worry about all the things you think you should be doing. Trust that in your next six days of work, God will continue to make you supernaturally fruitful.

Photo Credit: Ed Yourton (Creative Commons)

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