LAKEVIEW MISSIONARY CHURCH
Weekly Update for October 13, 2021
"MY SABBATH STORY"
It was sunny, but it felt dark. I had been here for days waiting for the pain in my arm and wrist to go away. I had overworked and pushed my body too hard. The result? Tendinitis that caused constant pain even when I sat still. The cause? Too much work while at work and too much work from home. The remedy? To stay home and rest.
After two weeks of rest at home, I went back to work. I loved to work but my body was telling me I could not. I knew something needed to change. Otherwise, I would be back in that same situation again: waiting at home for the pain to go away. I had heard about this thing called “Sabbath” but I had never practiced it.
The Sabbath began in Israel when God spoke to Moses in Exodus 16, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. . . Six days you shall gather it [food], but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none [gathering]. . . So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:23, 26, 30, NKJV).
The Bible says the Sabbath has two objectives. The first is ceasing from working so people can rest. “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers” (Jeremiah 17:21-22). The second is gathering together so people can focus on God. “Call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him . . you shall delight yourself in the LORD” (Isaiah 58:13–14).
Observing the Sabbath was part of the weekly rhythm that God’s people used to gather together and focus on God. If you can’t work you naturally gather with others for fellowship.
In my situation, I needed rest. I was learning—the hard way—how I needed the Sabbath and how the Sabbath would be a gift to me. I made the Sabbath part of my weekly rhythm. Yes, I took one day off a week! The rule: no work. No typing, work-related phone calls, writing by hand, researching, using a computer, or anything resembling work. My marching orders for the Sabbath were to sleep in, read my Bible, pray, watch some movies, and attend a church service. (This was before I worked as a pastor, of course!)
The Sabbath is one of the ten commandments, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). In the Gospels Jesus confirmed that believers need to follow all of the commandments except one: the Sabbath day. He never said believers need to observe a Sabbath day.
Christians live by grace and are no longer required to follow the Old Testament laws. However, I found I desperately needed the Sabbath. The Sabbath gave me a reminder that I needed rest. If I do not practice a Sabbath day I always find more work to do because there’s always more work to do.
That simple act—taking one day off per week—eliminated my pain. I loved my work, but I also learned to love the Sabbath. And I needed it. But most importantly, I learned that God’s Word is true, “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).