QUESTION: Pastor Peter, you recently returned from a 3-month Sabbatical - what is a Sabbath and why is it so important to our spiritual health?
PASTOR PETER: In our world, rest is an option at best. For most of us, we do not know how to rest because we are such doers. Even in our relationship with God, we are often doers for Him.
A Sabbath is a weekly rhythm of rest from our full-time job. We cease to do work by unplugging from our phones and computers, and plugging into God's presence. The reason why a Sabbath cannot be an option is because it is a day where you can rest so that God can minister to you. God is passionate about ministering to His children, but we do not allow him to because we refuse to rest. A Sabbath allows us to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our lives so that God can pour into our lives.
In the Old Testament, there are two main reasons why God calls His people to observe a weekly Sabbath: first, it is to imitate God. God created our world in six days and he rested on the seventh day. Since we are created in God's image, it is critical that we do our best to live it out by imitating God. The second reason why God instructed his people to observe the Sabbath is to live out their freedom from slavery. Sabbath reminded the people of God that they are no longer slaves in Egypt. For 400 years Israel had to work every day. They had no rest because they were slaves. Observing the Sabbath reminded the people of God that they are free and worthy of rest.
Sadly today, many of us are slaves at work and we have no issues with it. I believe the devil uses our vocation to enslave us. This is why we need to observe the Sabbath: to imitate God and remind ourselves that we are no longer slaves.
So how do we observe the Sabbath?
- STOP: Stop from being in control. Stop work and anything else you can't seem to control in your life.
- REST: Do whatever brings you rest. Sleep more if you have to, take walks along nature's path.
- DELIGHT: Do things on your Sabbath that brings you delight. For me, I like to cycle on my Sabbath. I love riding my bike and enjoy God's beauty.
I hope you can take a bold step in observing a weekly Sabbath. God will minister to you so that the other six days are meaningful and effective.
Take the step and may God bless you!