“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.”
~Exodus 20:8-11 NIV
Do you remember what a Sabbath day feels like? Many of us have adapted a hurried and busy lifestyle and have forgotten the importance and need for a Sabbath. What is this “old” word Sabbath? What does it really mean? Sabbath is commonly defined as a day of religious observance and abstinence from work. Many of us know this but when reminded we remark, “wouldn’t that be nice.” The truth is it would be nice! Observing a Sabbath is important enough that we need to make a conscious effort to “pencil them in” to our busy schedules, if not Sabbath days, than at least Sabbath moments.
As many of you know, I am training for a marathon, which translates to three short/medium runs and one long run every week. I know that many people become “slaves” to their workout schedule so much so that it becomes a burden and even hurtful to the goal they set out to accomplish. Now do not misunderstand, a schedule and a plan is vital to success but we must also listen to our bodies and react accordingly.
This past week and into this week, it has been a struggle to make time to go for a run. Last Sunday I was afraid that I was not going to get the 12-mile run I needed, but God provided a friend who rode a bicycle next to me to keep me company, help navigate, and distract me when the going got tough. After running I was very sore and didn’t feel so great. I rested on Monday, which is part of my routine and out of necessity (I was waddling like a duck). On Tuesday, I had a full day of meetings and projects to get done and only had a one-hour window to run in. I went out for a three-mile run on what was one of the more humid days. I still felt exhausted and sluggish.
Yesterday came around and I had another long day but this time I had to put in six-miles. By the time I got home (around 8pm) I was done. Just so you understand my wife who loves me very much understood how tired I was (even though she was exhausted) and allowed me to rest while she tended to the house, kids, and made preparations for the next days activities.
The truth is that I knew something was off and I felt guilty about not going for the six-mile run but I knew that rest would be 10x more beneficial than further running my body down. God created us, and our bodies are amazing, but God also knows that there are limits and warnings that we should pay attention to. In Mark 2:27 Jesus tells his disciples, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Just like the phrase “mother knows best,” don’t you think that it is time for us to start trusting in our God and proclaim the truth that God knows best? I understand that we live busy lives and that for some, a full day of rest and worship is simply not an option. I also believe that is alright (no guilt required). Even though we might have things that need to be done, this should not be a valid excuse to forget the Sabbath completely and to not keep it Holy. I understand that mowing the grass can be therapeutic, or engaging in physical activities can be meditative but we have to be INTENTIONAL about taking care of ourselves, nurturing our relationship with the important people in our lives, and most importantly nurturing our relationship with God. Just like over exercising, if we do not take the time to slow down and take rest days, we will end up increasing our risk of getting “hurt.” I am not proposing an (Old-Testament) strict understanding of the Sabbath, but instead, I am inviting you to find ways to discover and/or rediscover the importance and power of keeping the Sabbath holy.
As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. If you have any comments you would like to share please share below. Have a blessed week and remember that God loves you and there is not a thing you can do about it :-)