Questions to ask yourself to prepare for a Sabbath
What is rest and worship for you at this season of your life?
Sabbath is not just a rest but also a worship. What is emotionally life giving to you and spiritually enriching to you?
When I Sabbath, I run everything through this grid — is this rest? Is this worship? If the answer to both questions is yes, then I delight in it; if the answer is no, then I hold off until Sabbath is over.
How to Sabbath?
The Sabbath is not the same thing as a day off. It’s a day for rest, and it’s a day for worship. Make sure you get the difference.
On a day off you don’t work for your employer, but you still work. You grocery shop, do laundry, do things around the house that weren’t done, etc.
On the Sabbath, you rest, and you worship.
You stop working. Stop consuming. Stop selling.
Get ready for it.
Plan everything the day before the Sabbath. It may be stressful but then it’s all worth it. Prepare to exit the world.
Don’t be surprised when hours before your Sabbath or a day before your Sabbath is a flurry of activities – grocery shopping, finishing laundry, cleaning the house, planning the week, etc.
“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.
Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.”
You’re not going to like everything that you will cut away when you are in your Sabbath. There are decisions that you will have to make that will not be comfortable at the start. But it’s the chipping away of those things that will make for the better life that you want in the long run.
That’s why Moses was teaching the Israelites to get ready for the Sabbath. To bake and boil and gear up for the day of rest.
Think of the Sabbath like a weekly holiday. You don’t just wake up on Christmas morning and think, ‘what should we do today?’ No, you get ready for it.
You plan and prep and shop and look forward to it for days at a time.
Decide a day to Sabbath based on your season.
You have the freedom about how you work Sabbath out in to your life. Depending on your gender, personality (introverted or extroverted), stage of life (single, family, empty-nester, little kids, older kids), socio-economic status (city, farm, etc), it is yours to figure out this practice of life-giving art form for your time, your place and your personality.
If there’s too much work, then it’s not Sabbath even if it’s a Sunday.
Simply put, if you define an activity as work, then don’t do it on your Sabbath. I define house chores as work, so I don’t do it on my Sabbath.
Keep away from distractions
Whatever is distracting you from rest and worship, these are the things that you don’t do on your Sabbath. If social media is distracting you from enjoying God, then disconnect from the world wide web on your Sabbath.
Believe me, you are not missing out on anything if for 24-hours you aren’t connected in the internet.
Start where you are at.
If you can’t do a whole 24 hour Sabbath, maybe start by carving out 4 hours, or 12 hours then keep inching your way up.
Here’s the thing, you get what you put in and not to put you on a guilt trip, there’s something that you get from a 24-hour thing that you can’t get from a few short hours.
Technically, the Sabbath is from twenty minutes before sundown on Friday evening to Saturday late afternoon (the Jewish day is measured from sunset to sunset).
Most followers of Jesus Sabbath on Sunday, as it’s the day of Messiah’s resurrection, as well as the day we come together for worship.
For pastors and church leaders, Sunday is a workday. It’s exhausting. They’re up early preparing for a marathon day of preaching and teaching. That’s why for most, Monday is their Sabbath day.
Some follow the tradition of Friday night to Saturday late afternoon, but only because it works for their life. I don’t think what day you take is important.
Paul said in Romans 14:5-12, “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” I guess people have been arguing about this for a while.
Whatever day works great for you, that’s when you Sabbath.
In Genesis, Sabbath is the climax of the seven-day cycle. It’s on day seven, not three or four. It’s not a pause so we can recoup and then “get back to work.” It doesn’t say Friday or Saturday; it just says the seventh.
Sabbath is what the entire week is moving toward. The climax is an entire day set aside to worship.
Just like work, when it’s done right, is an act of worship, the same is true with rest. You can rest as an act of worship to God.
You can rest to the glory of God. When you enjoy the world as God intended, with a cup of coffee, a nap in a hammock, a good meal, time with friends, it calls attention to the Creator’s presence and beauty all around us.
When you do all that in a spirit of gratitude, letting the goodness of your world and life raising an awareness of God and a love for him, then rest becomes worship.
The Sabbath is about imitation of the God who works and then rests, it’s also a day to remember that we’re not God. The world gets along just fine without us.
We’re not as important as we think.
The Sabbath is a day to embrace this reality, to let it sink in, to own it, to celebrate it. To celebrate our weakness, our mortality, our limits.
To celebrate our God of strength and immortality and limitless power. To rest with him and to rest in him.
Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and He’s good.
We are his creation. This is his world.
We live under His roof, drink His water, eat His food, breathe His oxygen.
On the Sabbath, we don’t just take a day off from work; we take a day off from toil.
We give him all our fear and anxiety and stress and worry.
We let go. We stop ruling and subduing, and we just be.
We “remember” our place in the universe. So that we never forget –
There is a God, and I’m not him.