I haven’t killed anyone.  Stolen anything. I don’t think I’ve lied to anyone lately.

But when was the last time I rested for 24 hours straight? Have I taken a break from working, doing, striving for 24 solid hours?

Did you know that taking a break for 24 hours (aka “keeping the Sabbath”) is one of the 10 commandments?

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11

The Hebrew meaning of the word “Sabbath” is “to cease”.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful!! To cease, to just stop everything for 24 hours?

Several years ago my husband’s cousin, who is a pastor, was in town. He was sharing with us his rediscovery of keeping the Sabbath. We heard how essential he had found it to staying connected with God & his family in the middle of a busy ministry. It was from him that I first learned that the Biblical Sabbath is Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset.

photo credit: F.M. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/capturedtime/)

You may be thinking…isn’t the Sabbath a Jewish tradition, not for modern-day Christians under the new covenant? No. The Sabbath is NEVER referred to as the Sabbath of the Jews, only the “Sabbath of the Lord.”

Once again God demonstrated His understanding of our physical nature. He knew that if left to ourselves we would never stop. We would keep striving and working and not relying on Him and His redemption.

photo credit: R. Duran (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramonduran/)

Why “cease” for 24 hrs and keep the Sabbath? Because it is the ultimate act of faith and humility. You are admitting that God is in control. That it is not by your efforts but by His grace and salvation.

When we DON’T stop and rest at the end of the week, we are ignoring our  Creator. Our God, who created the entire universe, rested on the seventh day. He set apart the seventh day for rest and called us to set it apart (keep it “holy”).

In Mark 2:27, Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man made for the Sabbath”.  He was emphasizing that keeping the Sabbath is not another rule for you to keep to earn God’s favor. The Sabbath was for remembering God’s place and our position under His authority but it was ultimately for our own good!

Let’s enjoy our families instead of overcommitting. Let’s spend time with our spouses instead of our computers. Let’s connect with friends in real life instead of through Twitter & Facebook.  Let’s use that 24 hours to dwell on the goodness of the Lord and glorify Him through gratitude of His gifts of grace.

Will you join me in the 24 hour “ceasing” challenge?

I desperately need to humble myself and set-apart that time for His glory. How ’bout you?

“On the Sabbath-
we hear again that our
worth and value do not
come from what we make,
produce, or accomplish.” Rob Bell