Exodus 20:1-17: Then God gave the people all these instructions: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. 3 “You must not have any other god but me. 4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. 7 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. 8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. 12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You must not murder. 14 “You must not commit adultery. 15 “You must not steal. 16 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. 17 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
Really, the part I want to highlight is found in verses 8-11: “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day, he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
We need rest. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath as Jesus teaches in Mark 2:27. I forget this sometimes. On a daily basis, I spend time in the Word of God and I also spend time listening to podcasts about entrepreneurship, many of which preach the hustle everyday type mindset. Those two are constantly at battle within me. Sometimes it is hard to balance being all-in on my faith and all-in on my business. It is not that the Bible teaches I should be lazy, it is actually quite the contrary. We are to work hard and be good stewards of the skills and abilities given to us by the Lord but in today’s entrepreneurship culture there are a lot of influencers pushing for a very unbalanced lifestyle of working 7 days a week 15 or more hour days to out hustle everyone. This is not a sustainable lifestyle nor is it Biblical. So where does someone that wants to honor God and be successful land? Great question, I wish I had the answer.
I think this is most pronounced when it comes to the Sabbath. The Sabbath is to be a day of rest. A twenty-four-hour period each week where we spend time resting from what would be considered work and spending time recuperating and growing closer to God. The day of rest was part of God’s original plan for creation and was detailed in these verses from the Ten Commandments and yet it almost seems like blasphemy given modern American culture. The idea of taking a day away from the grindstone seems impossible or foreign and honestly, with the busy schedules, we live it often is very difficult because we’re overcommitted and need that time to sustain.
So what is one to do? How do we beat the competition and hustle every day while also taking an entire day each week to rest? How do we honor God and still accomplish what we need to? I have actually been thinking about this topic a lot over the past couple of years. I sat in on a great session on the Sabbath from AJ Swoboda a couple of years back. He was talking about some wonderful concepts and teaching from his book Subversive Sabbath. I have been trying to be very intentional about trying to take a Sabbath since then. I have rarely done anything resembling traditional work on Sundays and have focused instead on serving the Lord, spending time with family, and being productive in things that bring me joy, relaxation, life, and connection with the Lord. I have not been entirely successful but spending this time has taught me one important lesson and that is that taking rest truly does reenergize me.
Before I entered this season of trying to take a Sabbath I worked most weekends. We can do that for a period but the more we work the less rested our brains are. I am one that can work endlessly but I have noticed that my thinking is not as sound. I am not as productive. I am less likely to come up with new ideas. I am less creative. I am less focused. Those truths also are problems throughout the week not on a single day. Taking time away to use my brain in other ways reenergizes and recharges me for the mission at hand and helps me be more successful the rest of the week. Spending time with the Lord also draws me closer to Him which positively impacts every area of my life. Imagine that, God was onto something. We have been designed by the creator from the beginning to rest on a rhythm. We are built for this type of rest and reconnection and if we yield our schedules, our dreams, and our priorities to Him and trust in Him we can truly rest and know and experience that His will is greater than ours.