“The seventh day is a day of sabbath rest … You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD.”
The practice of pausing from work is key to understanding the biblical idea of Sabbath. There are other practices crucial to the celebration of Sabbath that we’ll explore later this month. But the discipline of pausing is perhaps the most central to Sabbath-keeping.
The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word shabbat, which at its root means “to cease.” To live in keeping with Sabbath, we must cease for a time, or pause, from our work.
For many people around the world, weekdays are for working at our jobs or careers, while weekends are for work around the home. The idea of Sabbath, though, isn’t to substitute one form of work for another. Sabbath invites us to truly rest from all our labors.
Of course, one person’s work may be another person’s play. Tinkering on an engine may be frustrating for one person, but sheer joy for another! Or gardening may be refreshing for some, but for others it may be a chore. So it’s not helpful to try to come up with a list for everyone to define what is work and what is not.
Still, when we make time to pause from whatever feels like work for us, and instead we explore our dreams and engage in good things that fill us with delight, our body, mind, and spirit are refreshed!
God in heaven, thank you for inviting us to pause from our work to enjoy the delights you have placed in our lives. Help us to bask in the Sabbath! Amen.
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