Sabbath Rest

Written by Heather Broughman

Photograph by Heather Broughman

“Rest. Rest. Rest.” Sometimes I feel like in our minds, especially as believers, this can seem like a four letter word of shame. Somehow the enemy twists our thinking and suddenly serving or working until the point of exhaustion becomes like a badge of honor and rest is just something that doesn’t fit into the schedule. In fact, it actually becomes acceptable to us to just go without rest/sabbath. And yes, I’m totally guilty of this!

But this word “rest”… I just can’t seem to get away from it. It keeps coming up in conversations, and song lyrics, as I’m praying and listening to the Lord. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8 So I studied this out a little bit… Holy means “set apart.” Sabbath surprised me a little bit, it actually comes from the verb “sabat” which means to stop or to cease. Its theological meaning is rooted in God’s REST (REST…there’s that word again ☺️) following the six days of creation ( Gen 2:2-3 ). Genesis 2:3 says, “Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” God RESTED! God…creator of all things, matchless in power and in might…saw fit to REST! And not only was there no shame in His rest…He actually called it HOLY!

God knows that exhaustion is a destructive and dangerous thing, so He demonstrated sabbath rest for us! A time to cease laboring, recharge, refuel, enjoy, and do something that will restore our souls so that we can be more FULLY PRESENT and INVESTED in serving, mentoring, leading, etc. in the days following! I’ll admit, I can pretty much think of 101 excuses as to why I CAN’T make time to rest, and I’m sure you can, too! But in the past few days, I’ve been challenged and convicted…if God took a day to rest… Who am I to say that I can’t? Yeah, it’s not easy…there are responsibilities, things to do, and needs to be filled. But God took a day of rest…so what am I saying if I can’t do the same? Am I really more important or needed than God? (Ouch!!) 

Sabbath rest doesn’t have to be a Sunday, sometimes it’s not even an entire day, and there are no rules as to what it has to look like a nap, painting, hiking, a drive through beautiful countryside… whatever it is that brings you rest or restores your soul. It requires humility, planning, and sometimes you just have to fight for it! But rest/sabbath is WORTH IT! It is God’s provision for us…it protects us from exhaustion and burn out…and ensures that we can be FULLY engaged with the things HE calls us to put our hands to the other 6 days out of the week! So my prayer is that you will be encouraged just as God has encouraged me…set aside a time or day to…REST! And know this, not only do we have God’s permission, but it’s His desire and plan for us!

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