In this article we are going to have a brief overview of the idea of Sabbath and what it means to celebrate a Christian Shabbat.
You Don’t Deserve a Break.
Especially you moms out there! You really don’t deserve a break.
It’s not that you’re not hardworking. I know you’ve had your hands full of poopy diapers, and kids screaming for a snack while they hang on your legs in the midst of your dinner prep. And you’ve probably just spent the day answering a million questions, organizing and cleaning up thoughtful activities, and stopping your two year old from flushing 10 toilet paper rolls down the toilet. Yes, you are hard at work!
But no, you don’t deserve a break.
Am I saying this so that you stop reading and hate me? Nope.
But I do have a point, so hang in there with me.
The Break Maker
I first want to introduce you to the designer of “the break“.
He spent an intense six days exercising his creativity in every way imaginable and then he rested.
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Gen 2:2-3
and then he told us to:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Ex 20:8-11
The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word “shabbat” which means rest.
I want to point out that the Sabbath is a day and is the first thing in all of creation that God calls holy!
Holy is just another word for something dedicated or consecrated to God. It is special and set apart from the rest of the week and demands that no work be done!
The Jewish understanding of Shabbat is that it is a joyous celebration, to be observed with family and friends. It’s the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and in the Old Testament we see that breaking the Shabbat was punishable by death. It’s a big deal!
What does this mean for Christians?
About six years ago God really was illuminating the word “Sabbath” for me all over the place and I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do.
“I’m not Jewish, God… what am I supposed to do with this? Why is this so important to you?”
While working with YWAM here in Germany we met a large, homeschooling family, who at the time I’d define as “weird, but intriguing”. They told us how they had been celebrating Shabbat (Friday evening until Saturday evening for them), as in the Jewish calendar.
We were even invited to one of their celebrations and I was utterly astounded.
Imagine your favourite celebration during the year.
Mine is Christmas. I have great memories of Christmas: the smells, the decorations, the food, the family, the laughter, the food, the eating, the chatting, and the food.
When our little family joined their family and friends and celebrated this weekly event, it brought me back to everything I love about Christmas… but they did it every week!
I was looking for a way to teach my kids about my faith that didn’t just revolve around sitting in a church bench and being spoken at and this experience hit the nail on the head.
We Work like Crazy!
I’m not being all North American here and exaggerating: it’s true. The average working mom works an average 98 hours a week (that’s two full time jobs) and I can assure you that the ones “staying home” are working just as hard.
The work literally never ends.
The moment I fold the pile of laundry a new one rises up.
The minute I refrain from bringing order into my life, or my home, CHAOS ensues!
So you’re probably still wondering why I said you don’t deserve a break?
Here is the not-so-secret secret to this special weekly break:
It is rest that has absolutely nothing to do with what we deserve or have earned.
It is all about God and his grace.
Who Am I?
So (for me) on Friday evening until Saturday evening I STOP being the maker, the creator, and the busy-bee. I leave the dishes, I leave the mess, I stop my projects, my work and my concerns.
I put the running of my own little kingdom on hold. I physically stop and consciously remind myself, and those around me that it’s not my strength that gets things done.
I remind myself who the true KING is.
God is God and I am me – I am not God.
On this day of rest we are no longer defined by the work we do, nor by the accomplishments we have achieved or the talents we possess.
God is the author, perfecter and finisher of all work (even ours!).
On Shabbat (or the Sabbath) we can just be, simply, ourselves. We have time to enjoy one another for just the way we are, and enjoy God for just who he is.
Stop the Excuses
There will always be work to be done, there will always be projects that need to be finished, there will always be the sly little voice saying, “ONLY when you finish this, you’re allowed to rest”.
We don’t work until we deserve a break.
God commands it because he knows we can’t and shouldn’t do it all.
Take the rest he so graciously gives so you can be a person full of LIFE!
So have a break, and make it a FULL DAY.
Your boss insists.
Have you already started having a weekly break where you do absolutely no work? What does it look like for you?
Curious about the practical side?
Read the next post: Thank God it’s Friday – to see how our family celebrates!
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