In his book, The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan offers a golden rule for the Sabbath with just two simple parts: "Cease what is necessary" and "embrace that which gives life."
Cease What Is Necessary
The Hebrew word for Sabbath means "to stop." If we're going to stop doing what's necessary, what might that look like? Here's a list to jumpstart your thinking.
We cease from:
- Work (and thinking about work!)
- Physical exhaustion
- Decision making
Consider putting into a box the various things you won't use for the next 24 hours: car keys, watches, cell phones, laptops, remote controls. And when you close the lid on the box, let that remind you that this time is set apart.
Embrace That Which Gives Life
If the above list makes you break out in a sweat, hang on. The Sabbath is actually life-giving when we free up space and time to practice it.
The second part of the Golden Rule of the Sabbath is to embrace that which gives life. In other words, stop doing what's necessary and then do what you want! What would give you the greatest sense of the abiding joy and goodness of God? Consider these five ingredients:
The Sabbath gives us the freedom to move away from the mundane, to use our imaginations. One writer describes it as passing through a day without letting it pass you by.
When our Creator finished the work of crafting, he stopped and said, "It is good." That's an expression of delight and wonder. Allow yourself to appreciate the gift of that day, to take it in completely, and to realize that it is good.1