Why Resting Is an Act of Holiness

There’s a reason the fourth commandment tells us to observe a Sabbath day.

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Posted in , Aug 18, 2021

A day of rest

Not only has technology extended our workday into the late hours of the night and over weekends and vacations, these pandemic times have further eroded the lines between work and home. Although work is part of the rhythm of life, unchecked it can come at the expense of health, family, friends—and God.

I read about a pastor who was criticized by a member of his church for not being on call one day. The pastor said, “Sorry, but that’s my Sabbath, the day I take off to rest and re-focus on God.” The church member said, “The devil doesn’t take a day off.” And the pastor said, “You’re right. And if I didn’t, I’d be just like the devil.” Rest is essential for our spiritual and physical well-being; without it, we can become intolerable. 

Author and pastor Rick Warren writes, “When we don’t rest, we don’t give God our best.” I would add that we don’t give others and, more importantly, ourselves our best either. The biblical principle of Sabbath, which means “rest,” was injected into the rhythm of life long before science and medicine confirmed its power and value. People need the Sabbath. It’s so important that it’s one of the Ten Commandments. 

We remember “thou shalt not steal” or “thou shall not commit adultery.” But there’s also the fourth commandment, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.” 

If we don’t rest, our bodies may respond by getting sick or injured. A day of rest also helps us refocus our spirit, to turn our attention away from work toward solitude, prayer and reflection. A day of rest creates opportunities to reconnect with loved ones through recreation and quality time.  

Each person must decide what day of the week works best for them. If you can’t take a full day, set aside a few hours. Remember, you have six other days of work to offer. On your day of rest, set aside time to be with God and others. The Sabbath was made for us to enjoy the goodness of His creation and His presence.

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