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Are Christians supposed to "keep the Sabbath"?

margin rest sabbath May 28, 2018

As Christians, we all know about the 10 Commandments found in Exodus 20.

The famous Thou shalts and Thou shalt-nots.

Love God and serve Him only.

Don't kill people.

Don't steal.

Don't take God's name in vain.

For me, when I'm reading this list I agree with them all.  They make sense to me.

  • Honor my parents.  Yep - makes sense.
  • Don't lie.  Yep - got it.
  • Don't commit adultery.  Check!

But...the one that seems a little strange to my American, 21st Century mind is this one:

"Remember the Sabbath day by making it holy." - Exodus 20:8

Maybe you've thought this before:  Jewish people were to keep the Sabbath day, but as Christian, should I?  What does look like or mean for me?

Keeping the Sabbath

For practicing Jews, Sabbath is observed on a weekly basis and is to be celebrated as a time of rest and remembrance.  It begins on Friday evening at sundown and ends Saturday evening with the appearance of three stars in the night sky.  

The word Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word, Shabat, which means "rest".  The goal, then, was to celebrate the fact that God rested from His work and so can - and should - we.

As Christians, we ought to embrace this practice that God called "holy".  While we may not be asked to adhere to the Sabbath in such a strict way as our Jewish brothers and sisters, it may be the very thing that we have set aside as unnecessary and is, in fact, one of the most necessary and needed things ever.

Just think about your life for a minute and the pace of life of the people closest to you.

Words that quickly come to mind are:

  • Busy
  • Frantic
  • Overwhelmed
  • Stressed
  • On-the-go
  • Non-stop

The list could go on and on.

Here are some words that we don't typically hear to describe us:

  • Peaceful
  • Intentional
  • Joyful
  • Restful
  • Purposeful

Or how about this word that we talk about a lot around here at NJW:


Do you know why Sabbath matters?  Margin. 

It provides a built-in, weekly reminder that we desperately need in our lives so that we don't forget the things that matter most.

It is God's way of slowing us down.  Helping us to smell the roses (maybe literally).  Building in time to reflect, relax, and worship the One that provides it all for us.

Do you need more of that?  

My guess is that you do.  So do I!  

Do you know how to find it?  

By keeping the Sabbath day holy.  

Try it.  Build it into your calendar.  Mark off a day that you will intentionally separate as different from the rest; that is better than the rest.  

Maybe if you do, you'll find more of this:



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