God established a rhythm of work and rest for humanity (Genesis 2:1-3). And Jesus clearly taught that the sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27). It was established for our good and for our benefit. Practicing sabbath is important for a plethora of reasons. It allows us maintain proper mental and physical rest. It forces us to humble ourselves an acknowledge that God is the Creator of the universe (Exodus 20:11). It inspires gratitude by regularly reminding us of our salvation. As Christians gather on the first day of the week, they celebrate the victory of the resurrection (Deuteronomy 5:15).
But it seems that there is another practical benefit of observing sabbath—it keeps us centered. It helps us to maintain a proper perspective and to remain oriented around the gospel. For most of us, the great danger is not that we will deny the faith. The greater danger is that our faith will be choked out by the many distractions of life. Jesus warned about this when he described the parable of the soils (Mark 4:1-20). Some people are like packed dirt. They don’t allow the gospel seed to penetrate. Others are like shallow soil. They have a brief emotional response to the gospel but it doesn’t last. But some are like the thorny soil. They allow the gospel to penetrate, take root and grow. But before it can produce fruit, it is choked out by “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things.”
The busyness of our culture is a major problem. How often do we get in the car and flip on the radio just so we don’t have to be alone with our thoughts? How often is our family time around the dinner table interrupted by soccer practice and school projects? How many times do we miss an opportunity to have a gospel conversation because are rushing to get to our next appointment?
Neglecting sabbath might result in fatigue and sickness. But more importantly, it might keep you from living a fruitful and focused life.
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