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Keeping the Sabbath is attractive to me. I want to be a person at rest, and the Sabbath is God’s weekly gift of rest. I’ve been reading, studying, and praying about the Sabbath lately, and on a recent road trip, I had an unexpected mini-breakthrough in my understanding.
My husband and I were on a 3,585 mile road trip, and on this particular day, we had a 10+ hour drive ahead of us. We decided to stop every 1.5-2 hours to stretch and prevent burn-out. Since we were driving primarily along the Oregon coast, this often meant stopping to play frisbee on the beach.
Funny enough, it was these frisbee breaks that gave me more understanding of the Sabbath.
So here they are: three things frisbee helped me understand about the Sabbath!
1. The Sabbath Is Not Earned
We didn’t earn our respites. We didn’t space them out by miles, only stop when we were near our emotional or physical breaking point, or (even worse!) only allow a break once we had reached the destination. The only influencer of when we took our rest was time. Likewise, the Sabbath interrupts our schedule in a beautifully predictable and unstoppable way. The Sabbath does not only come when we’ve earned it. Since creation, it has come every seven days, regardless of what has or has not been done.
God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:3
2. The Sabbath is For You
I was often oblivious to how cramped or stale the car was – even to the point of believing the upcoming stop was unnecessary and burdensome. Every time we got onto the sand, though, the beach’s freedom and freshness immediately shone light on the car’s true conditions. From the car, I thought that I “had” to stop. From the beach, it was clear that I GOT to stop – and doing so refreshed my mind, body, and soul in a way nothing in the car ever could! Likewise, the Sabbath is not something for you to do; it is something for you. God made the Sabbath specifically to provide us we need: rest, refreshment, relationship, and fulfillment of the deep desires of our heart that come from communion with God and His people.
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27
3. You Will Still Make it To Your Destination
Despite the many stops, we did make it to our destination. What’s even more impressive is that we made it with rested hearts, exercised bodies, and happy memories. That’s unique after so many hours in a car! Sometimes I feel like there isn’t enough time to rest while still accomplishing my purpose. What I remind myself, though, is that God created both my purpose and time. He wouldn’t give me a purpose requiring more than the time I have, including Sabbath rests. When I work without ceasing, not only do I risk burn out, I demonstrate that I think reaching my destination depends only on my performance. I leave God out of the equation. When I take a Sabbath break amidst the work, I demonstrate my trust that God is bigger than the pressure of my to-do list; I have faith I will still make it to my destination even if I take a rest.
I’m still a beginner in terms of Sabbath keeping, and I certainly don’t think that there is a one-size-fits-all model. I pray that you are encouraged by these mini-breakthroughs in understanding, and I hope that you consider how they can relate to your own Sabbath practice.
What does the Sabbath mean to you?