WHY YOU NEED TO STOP
Sabbath means stop. You might call it a stop day. It’s something you need to start practicing now. Here’s why.
Sabbath is practicing the way of Jesus
The way of Jesus is living in intimate connection with God, trusting and obeying him. Jesus said, “I only do what I see the Father doing.” (John 5) This was the essence of his “way”. He is one with the Father. (John 8) Jesus invites us into that union by telling his disciples that we should stay connected to him in the same way. “Remain in me and you will bear much fruit” (John 15).
Jesus not only practiced Sabbath every week of his life as a faithful Jew who fulfilled the law, he was the embodiment of it. He introduced his ministry by saying he was the Sabbath of Sabbaths – the Jubilee year in person. (Luke 4) His invitation was to come to him and yoke ourselves to him and find rest. (Matt. 11).
When we stop to rest and worship, it is an act of trust and obedience to God. We practice abiding in him, hearing his voice and obeying. In fact, before it is anything else, sabbath is obedience to God’s command. (One of his top ten in fact!)
Sabbath is God’s gift for human flourishing
When Jesus’ critics saw him restoring things on the sabbath they missed the point. They saw it as work. But it was more like a sign of the restoration of all things. Bodies healed, demons expelled and hungry people fed off the land are all signs of the ultimate restoration of paradise that is the ultimate rest! Sabbath points forward to the future restoration as we remember back to the original creation.
Jesus’ answer to his critics was that “The sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the sabbath.” In other words, “Don’t miss the point. It’s not about keeping the rules. The day is a gift for you and for your flourishing!” Your health depends on your ability to stop and rest. Daily, of course, we need sleep. But weekly, we need rest to enjoy life with God and those we love. We need it for our mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and relational wellbeing.
God has set apart one day each week to stop normal activities of working and shopping and scrolling to rest and enjoy your life. Will you receive his gift and reorder your life around a weekly stop-day? Come Sunday and I will show you how I am learning to practice the stop day.