The fourth commandment is rooted in the creation story and hard wired into the makeup of what it means to be human. Just as God rested from the work of creating the universe, so we too are made in a way where rest is not optional but a necessity. Our bodies, minds, and souls all require us taking rest. Jesus reminds us, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Beyond sleeping each night, we are called to remember, to take time to keep a holy Sabbath—a period of time when we cease our work, striving, and toiling and engage in resting, trusting, and relying on God’s care; time when we remember not only our need for rest but also that we are not indispensable, we are not autonomous, we are not God. We keep the Sabbath holy as we exercise our trust and faith in God’s provision, care, and sovereignty.
It goes without saying that remembering the Sabbath is not a cultural priority in North America. Many things creep in and erode at the practice of stopping and resting from important activities, work, recreation, ministry endeavors, and endless communication. To stop and remember the Sabbath is a countercultural and physical way to demonstrate, exercise, and grow our faith in God’s goodness and greatness.
What follows is a simple prayer to help you ease into your practice of remembering the Sabbath.
Father, slow us down
Ease the pounding of our hearts, still our minds;
Slow our pulses and expand our faith.
May we rest in you,
Knowing that life is not about more, better, or achieving.
Repair our values,
Restore our hope,
Reignite our faith
In your care, provision, and sovereignty over our lives.
Slow us down.
Help us remember your ways,
following after your will. Amen.
Photo: fatboyke (Luc)