Exodus 20:8-11 is the fourth commandment. It reads, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
For many people, their Sabbath consists of going to church and little more. While Jesus did emphasize that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), there is tremendous value to keeping the Sabbath in the manner stated in the Bible. By keeping the Sabbath as Christ did, we receive the following benefits.
1. We are reminded that our worth isn’t based on what we produce.
We live in a world that is filled with productivity books, productivity coaches, and productivity consultants. Why? Because our society determines the value of a company and, to a degree, the value of an individual based on what they produce.
From earning high grades in school, to putting in 60-hour work weeks and earning bonuses, humans place much of their self-worth in how much they and others produce.
Fortunately, God loves us for who we are – His children. It does not matter how much or how little we create, what matters is WHO created us. And we were created by a loving God who wants nothing more than a relationship with us.
When we decide to skip out on work a day each week, we declare to ourselves, others, and God, that we recognize our worth is not based on how much we accomplish. Instead, it is determined by our Heavenly Father.
2. We have time to evaluate our priorities.
It is incredibly easy to get caught up on the pressing matters and issues around us. Sometimes, we can become so overwhelmed by trivial tasks that we forget the more important matters – like our relationships, our legacy, our health, and our spirituality.
Many people in the modern world are turning to meditation to find peace and time to reevaluate their lives, but God already gave us that in the form of the Sabbath.
Every week, we have a day to look at how we are living our lives – readjusting to ensure that we grow into the man or woman we know God desires of us.
3. We have time to connect with friends and family.
Jews will take Friday night to Saturday night off from work and use this time to focus on eating, socializing, and worshiping together. This weekly experience provides an incredibly valuable time to connect and share with loved ones.
In a world where few feel they have true friends who genuinely care for their well-being, keeping the Sabbath creates an opportunity to develop and grow important relationships.
4. We have time to rest.
Sometimes you just need a break! Once you commit to avoiding work for an entire day every week, you suddenly find yourself with a full day of free time! Sure, many times this could be spent interacting with others, but this can also mean catching up on much needed rest like an extra nap or longer night’s sleep.
When our week is filled with long days, having a scheduled time to wake up slowly, take it easy, and enjoy the experience of living can be a true blessing.
Note: Consider reading Best 5 Ways to Deal with Stress
5. It is a reminder of what God has done for us.
The Sabbath is the ultimate recognition of God’s grace, and this is realized in three specific areas:
The very first Sabbath occurred following Creation. However, we are told that man was created on Day 6; therefore, what was the purpose of this first Sabbath? Surely it was not to give man a break from his half day of work! No, the first Sabbath came as an opportunity for man to look back on all God had done for him – despite man having done nothing.
A second prominent Sabbath came when Christ was on the cross. Again, this Sabbath offered an opportunity to look and see how God offered salvation despite man’s selfishness.
A final Sabbath will be when Christ returns to take us to Heaven with Him. A third time giving us something we most certainly do not deserve.
In short, the Sabbath is the revelation of God’s grace. First, man deserved nothing, and God created a beautiful garden for him to enjoy. Next, man deserved death, and Christ died in his place. Finally, believers do nothing but believe, and God will take us into Paradise to be with Him.
6. We are told that we will be blessed when we keep the Sabbath.
One of the most challenging ideas to grasp throughout the entire Bible is that God wants to bless us – even though we never deserve it.
However, when we commit to keeping the Sabbath day free from work and free from self – using it as a day to focus on others and worship Christ - He promises to bless us.
That’s right, when we commit to working one day less a week, we are actually told that we will achieve more in life!
Chick-fil-A often gets criticized for being closed on Sunday. People say the owners are missing out on 14% more profit, but Dan Cathy would be quick to point out that God makes up far more than 14% on the bottom line as a result of their obedience to His command. I challenge you to obey God’s command to keep the Sabbath; commit one day each week to God and rest, and see what blessings God pours into your life.
If you find any element of your life out of balance, consider a commitment to keeping the Sabbath. If done correctly, you may find this day is the secret ingredient to a healthy, blessed, happy, and more prosperous life.
Keywords: finding rest; benefits of keeping the Sabbath