In my previous blogs about the Sabbath I have argued that we really need the Sabbath today. I also said that the Sabbath cannot just be a bunch of rules but needs to be based on grace.
I am not sure that it is feasible to do Sabbath the same way that ancient Israel did. If you can then great, but I don’t think that way of doing Sabbath works in 2015. So, here are 10 tips to think about for doing Sabbath in 2015:
- Schedule it. Whatever your Sabbath habit, it will not happen if it is not on the calendar. Put God in first and schedule the rest of your life around that date.
- Sabbath does not have to be Sunday. I am a pastor which means that for me Sabbath is not just A workday but it is THE workday. I have to rest at other times. Our culture does not treat Sunday as a special day anymore so many people have to work on Sunday. Find other times to rest.
- Piece Sabbath together. I have 4 kids so I almost never get at 24 hour period of Sabbath. I have actually found that it fits me better to piece together my Sabbath throughout the week. There is something special about longer periods of rest, but sometimes resting a little every day is just as important.
- Don’t half-way Sabbath. It may not be Sunday and it may not be a 24 hour period, but a Sabbath must be focused on rest. You cannot rest and kind-of work. If you are working then you are not resting. Put the work away. Otherwise you are not effectively working or resting.
- Write down what you have to do. I find it easier to really rest and stop worrying about work when I have a good list of what I have to get done. I also find that when I Sabbath I start remembering things I have to do. I Sabbath with a piece of paper handy so I can capture those and then not worry about them. This lets my mind relax.
- Try different activities. Sabbath is a time of resting and refreshing. You have to experiment to find what activities (or lack of activities) does that for you. Sometimes you need fed spiritually. Sometimes you need sleep. Sometimes you need a distraction. Take a nap, play a game, go for a run, watch a movie… Your Sabbath may look different at different times. Try different things and see what works.
- Have a deadline. One of the secrets to Sabbath is the deadline. If you have a clear time that your Sabbath begins then you can get motivated to get housework and work-work done by that time so you can fully rest. I don’t know about you, but I always work hardest right before going on vacation. I don’t want to have to worry about things or be working on things while I am away. If you have that kind of weekly deadline for Sabbath it will help both your productivity and your rest.
- Think Sunset to Sunset. We tend to think of the day starting in the morning, but I think that the old way of thinking about the day starting the night before is helpful. If you only have a morning of Sabbath on a certain day then start your Sabbath at sunset the night before. It will add to your rest.
- Cook meals ahead. Cooking (especially in big families) can be a lot of work. Put a meal in the crockpot or prep a casserole the day before so that you can easily share meals together on your Sabbath. This particularly helps mom to Sabbath.
- Live a life of Sabbath. We tend to see Sabbath as a break from the important things of our lives, but that is not Sabbath. Sabbath is the recognition that God is the most important thing. Live the other 6 days of the week with a focus on the Sabbath. It can change your life.