Chapter 5: A Man and the Sabbath
NOTE: Today we continue with the series of excerpts from my new book, A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines. Visit our website location for numerous additional audio, video, and print resources on the Spiritual Disciplines.
Why Should We Honor the Sabbath as a Spiritual Discipline?
For some of us twenty-first-century hard-chargers, rest really requires an act of discipline. It’s not our natural response. We’re more comfortable working and involved in activity. Yet God thought it was important enough to make it one of His crucial mandates. Why should we pay attention to that? I see at least four reasons to practice the discipline of the Sabbath:
- The Sabbath is integral to orthodox Christianity. It is included in the Ten Commandments—arguably the most important pieces of legislation ever recorded. They help form the foundation for Western culture.
- The Sabbath expresses our trust in God’s provision. Our obedience communicates that our faith is in God—not in ourselves. By resting we say, “I believe God will take care of me. I don’t always have to be scrambling. I can trust Him.”
- The Sabbath protects us from ourselves. Many years ago it was said that, when Frenchmen in Paris stopped observing the Sabbath, suicide rates increased. During that time, the suicide rate in Paris reportedly became the highest of any city in the Christianized world. Constant work will wear us down, put us on edge, and make us unbalanced.
- The Sabbath is badly misunderstood, often abused, and frequently neglected. Whether it’s mowing, shopping, or just doing lots of chores, many people don’t relax on the weekends. Many men who do relax leave God out of this day of recreation. They often ignore their families. One student trying to draw attention to the neglect of the Sabbath in our generation wrote a satirical tract called “I believe in all nine of the Ten Commandments.” The title might make you smile, but take a moment to really think about the implications.
If you feel you can’t get by without working on the Sabbath, you may want to ask yourself, “Am I trusting God? If not, what am I afraid of?”
Suggestions for How to Use This Article
- Send this with a “love note” to someone who is losing touch with God and the Sabbath.
- In your small group, discuss these questions:
- What is the purpose of the Sabbath?
- “God has made it legal to take a day of rest.” Agree/disagree, and why?
- “I believe God will take care of me. I don’t always have to be scrambling. I can trust Him.” Does this ring true to you, and why or why not?
- If you feel you can’t get by without working on the Sabbath, answer the question, “Am I trusting God? If not, what am I afraid of?”
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.