July 6: Sabbath Busters

Read Psalm 23:2-3

God instituted the sabbath for rest and refreshment (see “How to Take a Day Off ). But many of us sabotage our day off. So even though we don’t go into work, we fail to rest and become refreshed. Here are four sabbath busters (and I’m sure there are more) I found in a file from a study on this subject years ago. Still relevant today, with a little updating.

  1. Technology. When the ten commandments were issued to the Israelites, God had just rescued them from the rule of Pharoah, whose rule oppressed them in slavery. Today we don’t have Pharoah, but we have a phone. It’s ever-present. It tends to dominate our lives with its technologically scrumptious enticements: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, texting, email, Google, Words with Friends, Candy Crush, 2048, Panda Pop. It might not sit in a palace, but it’s always nestled in our pocket. It dominates our life, consumes our time, and distracts us from relationships.
  2. A poor work ethic. If you don’t get your work done at work, you will take it home. If you tend to procrastinate and don’t your work done during the work week, you’re going to end up doing your work on your day off.
  3. Resting from your work to the exclusion of resting for your work. Work is good. Work is a godly endeavor. We were meant to work. And the sabbath takes its rightful place among our days of work. Interestingly enough, our first glimpse into the pattern for the day begins in the evening. The creation narrative says, “And there was evening and there was morning – the first day.” Consequently, in the Jewish tradition, days follow the pattern of evening first, then day. Even in our culture, our day begins at midnight. A good start to the next day probably begins with the evening before, which may include a little preparation or forward thinking and a good night’s rest. Likewise, your sabbath both comes at the end of a strong, six-day stretch of work and prepares you for the next week of work.
  4. Failure to plan. Your sabbath is for rest and refreshment. If you don’t plan for those things, the giant vacuum created by a failure to plan will suck other activities, distractions, and obligations into your day. And you’ll end your “sabbath” tired and weary, rather than rested and refreshed.

So don’t set up your sabbath for failure; set it up for fulfilment. Remove these sabbath-busting behaviors and mindsets and pursue the refreshment God intends for you.

-David Lawson

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