The Benefits of the Sabbath

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The Benefits of the Sabbath

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Everybody likes a benefit—something just a little extra. We want jobs with good employee benefits. Most of us would love to work for generous compensation and benefits—and for many, the benefits are even more important than the wages.

But some people don’t always take advantage of those benefits. I have a friend who doesn’t participate in his company’s health savings account program. Another friend doesn’t contribute to her retirement account and doesn’t receive her company’s matching funds. These friends don’t really care much about company benefits.

The Sabbath is a precious place in time that God has set aside for us to get to know Him better!

There’s another kind of benefit program that everyone should want to be part of. It’s way more valuable than any benefit your company can provide! What is it? Let’s call it the Sabbath benefit program.

The problem is, though, that like my friends who gave up their benefits, most people in the world don’t participate in this spiritual benefit program. They opt out.

But God has given us, as His workers, His Sabbath—Friday sunset to Saturday sunset—as a day of rest, reflection, worship and fellowship. And that is a great benefit plan!

There are real, tangible benefits to keeping the Sabbath. I know that I have been greatly blessed by observing the Sabbath.

When Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27 Mark 2:27And he said to them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
American King James Version×
), He was telling all of us that the Sabbath was made to help us and be a blessing for us. It’s part of God’s benefit program for everyone. He wants us to “opt in” to God’s special day, fully participating to receive full benefits!

A time set aside by our Creator to connect with Him

You’d probably agree that our modern world is too rushed. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can make it difficult to stop and appreciate the blessings we have.

But on the Sabbath, God wants us to take time away from work and distractions to enjoy time with Him, with family, good food, music and other simple yet inspiring things.

The Sabbath is a reprieve from the chaotic pace of the week. Human beings aren’t meant to work seven days a week. Our Creator intended for us to rest and spend time learning about Him. That’s why God set aside this time where we can put aside our daily concerns—our jobs, the grocery shopping that needs to be done, the errands, the household chores.

Think about it: When was the last time you stopped and looked up at the stars and really enjoyed the beauty of a starlit night? That extra time for reflection that God gives us on the Sabbath helps us appreciate what we might otherwise overlook. It’s a wonderful opportunity to draw closer to our Creator who made all these beautiful things.

The Sabbath day is a place in time that God has set aside so that we can get to know Him better and He can get to know us better.

When you understand that the Sabbath is the amazing blessing God designed it to be for us, why would you not keep it every week? There’s no better time to focus on connecting with Him!

A time to rest

Imagine having one day every week to avoid work, a day to get out of household chores, a day of not worrying about to-do lists—and all of this without any guilt! Picture a day to spend with your family and friends, a day in nature, a day of doing something nice for someone else. It’s not a dream. It’s a reality, all because God designed the Sabbath this way.

God set the example for us when He rested on the seventh day of creation. He showed us by example that He designed it to be a holy day on which to rest for the whole day. The Sabbath is a time to stop normal activity at sunset on Friday evening and enjoy a 24-hour day to rejuvenate physically, emotionally and, most importantly, spiritually.

Your busy week most likely wears you out. The activity and challenge of your job can be a good thing, but after a week’s worth of work, you’re ready for something different. God designed us to feel that way. The Bible shares His perspective: “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 20:11 Exodus 20:11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
American King James Version×
).

The word Sabbath literally means “to cease” or “to stop.” Just as God rested from His creation work, we are to rest from our day-to-day occupations and activities and focus on what’s most important. On the last day of every week, we should stop what we’re doing to think and study more about God, go to Sabbath worship services, and learn more about how to live God’s way.

God gave us the Sabbath as a way to push the reset button. If you’re like me, you’re easily distracted from the people and things that matter the most. God’s Sabbath helps get me back on task and gets my priorities straight! Every week you can have that same opportunity to reset and “opt in” to His purpose for our lives!

A time to build faith

The Sabbath redirects us so we can focus on God’s time and His direction for our lives. It means trusting God with your time, your feelings, your character, your finances, your perspective, your attitude, your relationships, your whole existence.

God is essentially telling you: “This is the day that I want you to observe. I want to set you apart, I want you to be different, and I want you to see that this is the way to live.” Stepping out and doing something that God wants, even when it seems different and maybe strange, builds faith in Him.

In fact, you could say that observing the Sabbath rest is an act of faith . It’s a reminder that no matter what we do, God is in control. He says, “I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the Lord made them holy” (Ezekiel 20:12 Ezekiel 20:12Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
American King James Version×
, New International Version).

When we stop chasing material goals and our usual work for one day every week, we effectively say: “God, you’re in control. I’m honoring You. I’m focusing on You—on Your Sabbath. Even though I’m working on only six days, I trust You to provide for me through all seven days. It doesn’t matter how much money I would make today, or how many things I could check off my to-do list. It’s Your Sabbath and I want to opt in to your time. I want to enjoy this time to rest, reset my thinking, reset my body and worship and honor You.”

Obeying the Fourth Commandment is a faith-builder because observing the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset can seem to go against the expectations of the world around us. Building living faith in God means being more concerned with His opinion than anyone else’s.

God doesn’t expect us to keep a 24-hour period of rest Friday sunset to Saturday sunset just because it seems like a good idea to you or me. He wants us to do it out of a desire to obey His command that we keep it. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” is the fourth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-10 Exodus 20:8-10 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
American King James Version×
).

The Sabbath is a day of freedom and worship

God gave the Sabbath command to a people He had just rescued from the bondage of slavery. They were a people who rarely, maybe never, got a day off. The fact that the Sabbath was a gift is made clear in this connection: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:13-15 Deuteronomy 5:13-15 13 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work: 14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your ox, nor your ass, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD your God brought you out there through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Sometimes we can be slaves to work, slaves to stress, slaves to the hustle and bustle of life. God wants us to have a day off from work and have a day to reset and focus on spiritual matters. The Sabbath is not only intended to be a day of physical rest, but also a day of spiritual renewal and rejuvenation—a day to set us free. God wants to free you from settling into a comfortable yet aimless seven-day routine.

The Sabbath is a spiritual compass in the week that orients us toward God and reminds us of our divine purpose.

This spiritual purpose is why God set the Sabbath apart as holy and a day to assemble together for worship.

We’re told to have a holy convocation—a special assembly —on the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:2-3 Leviticus 23:2-3 2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. 3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
American King James Version×
). Think of it this way: Every Sabbath you have a divine appointment with God! Now that’s too good of a benefit to opt out of!

Friday sunset to Saturday sunset is the biblical Sabbath, and during that time period Christians come together to worship God collectively as His people. We all have the choice to follow Jesus’ example and opt in to connecting with our great God in a special way on His day.

His Word tells us: “Praise God in his holy house of worship … praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness … Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah!” (Psalms 150:1-2 Psalms 150:1-2 1 Praise you the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
American King James Version×
; Psalms 150:6 Psalms 150:6Let every thing that has breath praise the LORD. Praise you the LORD.
American King James Version×
, The Message).

If you want to truly follow God, don’t forget that you have a very special appointment with Him: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8 Exodus 20:8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
American King James Version×
).

Are you ready to follow God and enjoy His Sabbath benefits?

Opting in to God’s Sabbath benefit plan is something you’ll want to fully participate in. It reminds us that God makes a way for us to be full-time, full-fledged members of His divine family. He gives us a weekly reminder of His plan and purpose through the seventh-day Sabbath—a very special day to learn about and draw closer to God. It’s a day of joy, a day of freedom, and a day of fellowship with others who want to worship God as He commands.

God wants you to make the choice— to do what He would have you do—to do what’s best. It might seem a little difficult at first to do something different, but He wants to give you the best of spiritual blessings. He wants you to opt in to His spiritual benefit plan!

Will you take God at His Word? Will you take that first step this week to fully participate in God’s special day of benefits? The time is now to commit all areas of your life to God and to choose to worship Him on His Sabbath day!

The New Testament Church was instructed to keep the Fourth Commandment, the day made for mankind: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9 Hebrews 4:9There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

You can fully participate too. Make God’s Sabbath—Friday sunset to Saturday sunset—your Sabbath. Honor God through the day He set apart for us, and expect a spiritual benefit!