Four12 article image for 'Take A Day Off!' about the importance of taking a weekly day of rest

Take a Day Off

Don’t you love those moments of realisation when God is shown to be the architect of all science? I recently read an article titled “A Day of Rest: 12 Scientific Reasons it Works: Most major religions call for a day of rest…science agrees.”[1] It cited numerous studies proving the benefits of a regular day of rest. Benefits included reduced stress, greater productivity, better health, restored mental energy, improved sleep and even longer life!

Intrinsically we understand this, yet in our age (and churches) there is a tendency towards constant work, erratic rest and 24/7 availability. We miss the benefits of a healthy rhythm of rest.

The Principle of Rest

God’s 4th commandment to Israel was ‘Six days you shall labour 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…’ (Exodus 20:9-10) and the consequences for breaking this were severe. In fact, failure to observe the Sabbath was cited as part of God’s discipline in exiling them. (Lev.26:33-35)

The principle of resting 1 day in 7 was not introduced when Moses received the Law. It’s rooted in the origins of man. God rested a day and man’s first full day was one of rest. A weekly rest day is not a reward for working hard but a universal creation ordinance.

We know that in Christ the Law was completely fulfilled and, as a result, under the New Covenant, we are no longer bound to keeping a set of Sabbath rules nor is it a question of salvation, which can only be found in God’s grace through faith in Christ. Christ is our rest. The issue, however, is that there will always be consequences when we ignore God’s ways.

A weekly rest day is not a reward for working hard but a universal creation ordinance.

During the French Revolution, the Republic decided to ignore the Christian Gregorian calendar and institute a 10-day week with 9 days of work and one of rest. It was a total disaster and soon abandoned as productivity dropped, suicide increased and people burned out. In 1974, even NASA was forced to observe 1 day of rest in 7 for exhausted space crews.[2]

 

Do We Need a Sabbath Day of Rest?

Our complacent attitude to rest is contributing to a society increasingly marked by broken relationships, a rising epidemic of stress, burn-out and anxiety. In my own life, I experienced a total breakdown and am convinced that failure to take this seriously was a major factor. Sometimes God’s loving discipline requires us to be forced to stop.

Scripture is littered with the human need for rest. Jesus pulled His disciples away from the constant pressure of need and ministry ‘The apostles gathered round Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’’ (Mark 6:30-31). When Jesus declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath, the ritualistic following of rules was replaced by freedom to enjoy the universal creation gift of a day’s rest with Him.

Resting Is Holy

The principle of a sabbath day is perhaps best described as a wasted gift. A day of total rest is an abused gift from God. It concerns holiness and blessing – a day set apart for us in devotion to God and to the receiving and recognition of His blessings. ‘…the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.’ (Exodus 20:11)

If we look at the pattern God gave Israel, we see this gift of rest extended to festival weeks throughout the year in which the people were released from seeking increase, ambition, labour, competitiveness and the pressure of producing things. Good for individuals, family, community and environment. Sounds like something we need today!

..people were released from seeking increase, ambition, labour, competitiveness and the pressure of producing things.

This is not just time off work. This is no mechanical calendar challenge because rest is not taken by us, it’s given by God.

The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ (Exodus 33:14)

…they were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord… (Isaiah 63:14)

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 28:11)

 

Five Reasons to Take a Day of Rest Seriously

Here’s why:

  1. God is serious about it

    A day’s rest made God’s top 10 for His set-apart people. Jesus freed us from legalistic observance with examples of doing good and dealing with emergencies, but He endorsed a day of rest. (Mark 2:27)

  2. It’s a witness

    No other nation rested from work like Israel. We trust God’s supernatural provision in 6 days. In a 24/7 world, we value a day of rest in Christ for ourselves and our families above chasing money.

  3. It’s good for us

    Unobserved sabbaths accumulate with consequences. A healthy rhythm of rest brings blessing in better marriages, happier children, improved mental and spiritual health and greater job satisfaction.

  4. It breaks bad habits

    In us and in others. Introducing this discipline will require us to break our addiction to technology and the modern tyranny of constant availability.

  5. It’s refreshing

    It may include time with church family, time to rest in God’s presence, family celebration, physical exercise and enjoying other activities that refresh us. One thing we should avoid is doing work or even thinking about work!

This day will vary in content with the different rhythms of culture, family and church life but the principle of a devoted day of rest receiving God’s blessing is simple wisdom. In our lives and churches, I believe we need to rediscover the power and blessing of true rest in Christ.

What would you say to the Lord of the Sabbath about how you are using His gift?

 


 

[1] https://www.inc.com/rhett-power/a-day-of-rest-12-scientific-reasons-it-works.html

[2] Quoted in Subversive Sabbath by A.J. Swodoba

Chris leads the Douglas congregation of Living Hope on the Isle of Man. He is married to Carol and they have two married daughters. Chris was in the business world for 26 years before joining the church staff. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more.

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Trials
Husbands
Offence
Humility
Idols
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Obedient
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Revelation
Conviction
Complacency
Recalibration
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Transformation
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Taiwan Churches
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Apostolic Partnership
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Tribulations
Partner
Overcoming
Humbleness
Immorality
Prophets
Fornication
Planting A Church
Christian Leaders
Debt
The Word
Discipline
Condemnation
Bear Fruit
Complacent
Recalibrating
Teaching Kids
Partners Relief Fund
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Netherlands
Marriage Training
Church
Apostolic Field
Administration
Racism
Church Partnering
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Obedience
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Modesty
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Teaching
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Compromise
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Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
Leading Youth
Surrender
Testimonies
Christ
Delegating
Servant
Social Gospel
Character of God
Worth
Gift of Tongues
Godly Elders
Big Churches
Salvations
Sacrificial Love
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
Signs and Wonders
Baptise
Infant Baptism
Power
Possessions
Study the Bible
Steward
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Hospitable
Spreading The Gospel
Relationships
Training Children
Health
Youth Training
Counting the Cost
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
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Affirmation
Judaism
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Breaking Bread
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Prayer and Fasting
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Foundations
Heaven
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favour
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Tithes
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Sancti
Words of Knowledge
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Identity
Small Group
Biblical Pattern
Systematic Theology
False Gospel
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Jews
Reasoning
Watering Down
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Helps
Mortality
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Honouring People
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Protection
Dating
Decisions
Eldership
Fleshly Desires
Shame
Truth
Traditions
Works
Morality
Wisdom
Women Leaders
Ordaining Elders
Christian Community
Backslidden
Resurrection
Testimony
Masturbation
Communal Culture
Partnering Churches
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New Churches
Five Fold Gift
Trinity
Tithe
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Employment
Thanksgiving
Atheists
Old Testament Prophet
Ambassadors
Truth in Tension
contradictions
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treasure
Deacons
Culture
Good News
Maturity
Self-Control
Word of Knowledge
Bitterness
Self-Pity
Courting
Forgiving
Anger
Freedom
Submission
Gifts of the Spirit
Get Baptised
Works and Faith
Morals
Gift of Wisdom
Females in Leadership
Ordaining
Defence
Commitment
Hearing God
Consequences
Receive Forgiveness
Leadership Training
Living Hope
Zimbabwe
Start a Church
Prophet
New Believers
Being Generous
Study Scripture
Jobs
Entitlement
Misotheists
New Testament Prophet
Work Values
Family
Devotion
Goodness
Men
Serving
Word of Wisdom
Brokenness
Sickness
Courtship
Friendship
Church Plant
Hope
Trusting
Gifts
Baptized
Fasting
Overcomer
Words of Wisdom
Leadership
Encounter
Repenting
Challenges
Listening
Caring for Children
Four12 Partners
Training Leaders
St Johns
Relief Fund
Building Church
Evangelist
Dreams
Communion
Being Accountable
Occupation
Rejection
Misotheism
The Case for Christ
Kingdom Priorities
Biblical Contradictions
Love
Discernment
Gospel
Mercy
Shepherding
Work
Caring
Suicide
Desires
Lies
Fathering
Vulnerability
Accountable
The Apostolic
Kids
Intercession
Singleness
Fear
lead
Life
Repent
Anxiety
Obey
Child Care
Four12 Partner
Volunteer
Taiwan Church
Israel
Healthy Church
Teacher
Multi-site Church
Perseverance
Loving Others
Profession
Social Media
Hopelessness
Lee Strobel
Kingdom Living
Refining Fire
Marriage
Discipleship
Grace
Ministry
Sin
Worship
Confusion
Trials
Husbands
Offence
Humility
Idols
Pride
Evangelising
Obedient
Christian Leadership
Singles
Healing
Direction
Revelation
Conviction
Complacency
Recalibration
Guidance
Transformation
Volunteering
Taiwan Churches
Providence
New Testament Church
Pastor
Church Structure
Feminism
Apostolic Partnership
Vocations
Distractions
Christian Books
Christian Movies
Covenantal Love
Storms of Life
resilience
steadfastness
uncompromising
Accountability
Doctrine
Healing and Miracles
Money
Social Justice
Youth
Death
Tribulations
Partner
Overcoming
Humbleness
Immorality
Prophets
Fornication
Planting A Church
Christian Leaders
Debt
The Word
Discipline
Condemnation
Bear Fruit
Complacent
Recalibrating
Teaching Kids
Partners Relief Fund
Apostolic Partnering
Netherlands
Marriage Training
Church
Apostolic Field
Administration
Racism
Church Partnering
Christian Values
Cosmological Argument
Christian Authors
Review
Husband
Apologetics
Elders
Heaven and Hell
Obedience
Spiritual Gifts
Caring for Others
Depression
Online Church
Spouse
Conflict
Meekness
Lust
Prophecy
The Gospel
Purgatory
Control
Finances
The Word of God
Modesty
Judgement
Bearing Fruit
Comfort
Divorce
Teaching Children
Four12 Partners Relief Fund
Pastors Training
The Poor
Letting Go
Values
Partnering
Heart of God
Justice
Church Partnership
Great Commission
Existence of God
Christian Literature
Old Testament
Romance
Apostles
Evangelism
Holiness
Partnership
Stewardship
Caring for People
Doubt
Church Involvement
Wife
Reconciliation
Overseers
Lying
Deception
Hell
Raising Children
Godliness
Miracles
Word of God
Ordained
Equality
Breakthrough
Defending My Faith
Covenant
Teenagers
Four12 Churches
Training Pastors
Needy
Rastafarian
Translations of the Bible
Preaching
Authentic Community
Relationship with God
Faith and Works
New Christian
Creation
Reading
Worldviews
God's Love
Apostolic
Faith
Holy Spirit
Pastoring
Suffering
Brotherly Love
Eternity
Community
Wives
Bishops
Shepherd
New Believer
Greed
Immaturity
Raising Kids
Parenting
Poor
Bible
Ordinance
Unforgiveness
Refreshing
Defending The Gospel
Matrimony
Teenage Years
Four12 Church
Youth Leaders
Ireland
Redemption
Godly Leadership
Disciple
Church Discipline
Church Health
False Teachers
Fatherly Love
Tongues
Goats
Fear God
Godly Love
Body of Christ
Authority
Faithfulness
Holy Spirit Baptism
Patience
Teaching
Character of a Deacon
Grief
Compromise
Blueprint
Character
Addiction
Pornography
Signs
Christening
Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
Leading Youth
Surrender
Testimonies
Christ
Delegating
Servant
Social Gospel
Character of God
Worth
Gift of Tongues
Godly Elders
Big Churches
Salvations
Sacrificial Love
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
Signs and Wonders
Baptise
Infant Baptism
Power
Possessions
Study the Bible
Steward
Hatred
Hospitable
Spreading The Gospel
Relationships
Training Children
Health
Youth Training
Counting the Cost
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
God's Character
Affirmation
Judaism
Enlightenment
Building Deep
Prostitution
Godly Team
Breaking Bread
Festivals
Idolatry
Prayer and Fasting
Theology
Foundations
Heaven
Fellowship of Believers
Leading Church
Diversity
Church Accountability
Rebellion
Witchcraft
Baby Christian
Kassie du Plessis
Protector
Tithing
Envy
Quiet Times
Retaliation
Lessons
Spreading The Word
Cheating
Training Teenagers
Cancer
Youth Ministry
Following the Call
Four12 Equip
Eldership Training
Community Leading
Pastors
Rest
Sacrificial Serving
Sonship
Jewish
Reason
Selling Out
Prostitutes
honour
favour
Children
Forgiveness
Income
Prophetic
Tithes
Helper
Illness
Principles
Living for Christ
Government
Discipling
Sancti
Words of Knowledge
Babies
Prayer
Sexual Purity
Christmas
Jealousy
Meditation
Promises
Loss
The Cross
Persecution
Unfaithfulness
Sacrifice
Brazil
Prophetic Training
Healing Conference
Identity
Small Group
Biblical Pattern
Systematic Theology
False Gospel
Testimony Apostolic
Jews
Reasoning
Watering Down
Reaching Out
Christian Character
Generosity
Jesus
Purity
Trust
Helps
Mortality
Christian Family Values
Lukewarm
Home Group Leaders
Exhort
Sanctification
Dominionism
Beliefs
Praying
Celibacy
Fathers
Comparison
Training
Bible Study
Tests
Cross
Fear of Man
Find Forgiveness
Sacrificial Service
Brazil Churches
Prophetic Equip
Voice of God
Team
Home Group
Change
Servant Leadership
Apostolic Leaders
Authentic
Religions
Intellectual Pride
Ambition
Fruitfulness
God's Favour

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