When I was growing up, Sunday was a day distinct from all the other days of the week. For one thing—none of the stores were open.
My family and I would go to church, then come home and have a nice meal. Then basically we just hung out. I'd read or listen to music or take a nap. It was slower, quieter. More relaxing.
When I became an adult, Sundays became church, then errands and e-mail and laundry and work preparing for the next work week. I never took a day off.
God has something to say about that schedule that I and so many others keep. The fourth commandment says to keep the Sabbath—to unplug completely and do no work. To focus on God and allow yourself to be rejuvenated.
What's interesting is that too often we break that commandment—and brag about it. I've been in conversations where we complain about all the work we have to do and how we don't have time to take off.
Of course, we don't brag about breaking the other commandments: "I'm planning to steal something." Or, "I think I'll take God's name in vain." Or, "I'm going to go commit adultery."
Maybe we break the Sabbath commandment because we're more comfortable with working than with stopping? Maybe because honoring the Sabbath requires a humility—an acknowledgment that says God rested after his work, but I'm exempt. I just have too much to do.
But what if we started to look at Sabbath as an outrageous gift God has given you and me every seven days?
Do you think if we trust him enough with our schedules, he'll bless us by giving us freedom, delight, and true worship? Rest and play?
There's a great line in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien writes, "The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have power over the present." That's the promise and joy of celebrating Sabbath. That's what I want to intentionally go after. How about you?1