Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Benefits of Sabbath Rest or Why You Should Take a Break Today


"If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." The quote is attributed to Marc Anthony, but it certainly applies to my life. I love what I do, even when it's a messy, stinky job like cleaning out the barn. The disadvantage comes when you do what you love without a break. Even Jesus, who often worked all day and prayed all night, honored the Sabbath. I, on the other hand, find rest difficult.

Several years ago, I accidentally "did nothing" one Sunday. At the end of the day, I complained that I did not do a productive thing all afternoon. Quick as a flash, the still, small voice in my heart whispered, "Oh, yes, you did. You took a Sabbath." 

I'm not perfect at rest, but I've been intentional about the Sabbath for a while now. I attend services at my church and come home to rest. I feed the livestock, but I don't clean the barn or check off items on my to-do list. I listen to music, walk outside, play with the dogs, read books. On a rare occasion, I nap. When the weather is nice, I sit outside and ponder life.

Early this morning, I lay in bed and considered what I wanted to do today. I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but I said, "Lord, could I get a pass on Sabbath rest today? I'd sure like to work on edits."

I did not get a pass. 

Instead, I received a still, small reminder of the benefits of honoring the Sabbath. Isaiah 58 offers an enticing reward for choosing rest on this holy day.

"IF because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight...THEN you will take delight in the Lord...ride on the heights of the earth...be fed with the heritage of Jacob..." Isaiah 58:13-14 nasb

In case you need a reminder about the heritage of Jacob, you can find Issac's deathbed blessing to his son (which he stole from Esau) in Genesis 27.

"Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you, Be master of your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed by those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you." Genesis 27:28-29

The simple act of obedience in Sabbath rest yields delight, abundant provision, authority, and influence, as well as blessings for those who bless you and curses on your enemies. 

I can't quite take this in, but I believe it's true. IF I will choose to turn from doing what I want and spend the day taking delight in my God, THEN He will bless me in astounding and generous ways. Obedience is worth it.

Today, the to-do list can wait. I choose rest and all the blessings it brings.

What will you do today? How do you honor the Sabbath? I'm eager to hear, so leave a comment below. 

You might also like: When You're Too Busy to Be Still But Rest Isn't Optional