Let’s talk about rest: Sabbath

I shared this a few weeks ago, but it’s worth revisiting. Here’s a way to learn about and practice the spiritual discipline of Sabbath.

From Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s Handbook on Spiritual Disciplines:


Desire: to set apart one day a week for rest and worship of God

Definition: Sabbath is God’s gift of repetitive and regular rest. It is given for our delight and communion with God. Time for being in the midst of a life of doing particularly characterizes Sabbath.


“Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it… So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs” (Hebrews 4:1, 9-11).

“The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it” (Exodus 20:8-11)

Practice Includes:

  • Setting aside time for intimacy with God and others you love
  • Resting in God one day per week
  • Practicing restful activities: walks, picnics, a Sunday afternoon nap, a phone visit with someone you love, tea or coffee with a friend, family time, games with your kids
  • Letting go of things that stress you out for twenty-four hours
  • Letting the difficult conversations happen another day
  • Not developing a to-do list for Sunday (or whatever day you choose for Sabbath)
  • Refraining from competition that moves you into a bad place

God-Given Fruit:

  • Keeping company with Jesus through the sabbath
  • Freedom from the addiction to busyness, rush and hurry
  • Acknowledging your human limits and living within them
  • Honoring the way God created you by living a healthy and intentionally rested life
  • Living a weekly rhythm of rest followed by six days of work
  • Delighting in God, family, the seasons, meals and all good gifts of creation
  • Trusting God for all that you’re not doing or taking care of on your sabbath day

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