“A Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their work as God did.”

Hebrews 4:9-10


Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:

  • This passage, from the Book of Hebrews, is often titled, “The Rest that God Promised.”
  • The fourth (4th) commandment to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (Exodus 20:9) urges rest and renewal from work as a weekly priority.
  • Jesus teaches: “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, not for people to meet the Sabbath requirements” (Mark 2:27). This means that Sabbath isn’t for acting holier than thou or flaunting that we aren’t working because we attend a religious service.
  • To enter God’s rest and keep a Sabbath day releases us from burdens and responsibilities. It gifts us sacred time to enjoy resting and gathering with loved ones. It reminds us that we’re human beings, not human doings.  So, we remember that we don’t steer the Universe or need to figure everything out today.
  • When we stop working and cease our busy-ness to rest and play, we trust that whatever has been done is sufficient for now. We also trust that we can be more energetic, efficient, and effective later.
  • Types of Sabbath rest might include: Reading a novel and relaxing at the beach; fishing on the lake; wearing pajamas all day and watching movies; playing board games with the family; getting a massage and ordering take-out; hiking into the mountains and meditating; gathering with a spiritual group and sharing brunch; enjoying all types of creativity such as writing, painting, carving, or sculpting.
  • In his 2000 book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, Pastor Wayne Muller teaches: “Sabbath honors [the] quality of not knowing, an open receptivity of mind essential for allowing things to speak to us from where they are. If we take a day and rest, we cultivate Sabbath Mind. We let go of knowing what will happen next, and find the courage to wait for the teaching that has not yet emerged.”

Contemplation Questions:

As you reflect on your life and circumstances, ask yourself:

  • Do I take a full 24-hour Sabbath rest-and-play day every week?
    • Without analysis or judgment, answer Yes or No.
  • If my answer is Yes, what are at least three (3) things I can do to enhance this time for myself and my loved ones?
    • List, word map, or illustrate as much as you imagine.
  • If my answer is No, what are my reasons for not gifting myself this sacred time?
    • Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate whatever the reasons are.
  • When I contemplate my reasons, what could I do to rearrange my schedule and priorities so I have one (1) full, free day to rest and play?
    • Consider all your weekly activities, everything from household chores to professional work responsibilities to civic obligations.
    • Then, list, word map, or illustrate what you want to reschedule and rearrange.
  • What am I trying to figure out that I could let rest?
    • List, word map, or illustrate whatever you want to discern.
    • Set it aside for a while and wait.
    • After your rest is complete, list, word map, or illustrate the wisdom which emerges and reveals itself to you.

Keeping and enjoying Sabbath rest and play time becomes a habit, like any other.  So, if this isn’t yet part of your weekly spiritual practice, start small.  Pick any day of the week which fits best.  If you can only do eight (8) hours, start with that.  Then move to twelve (12).  Then to sixteen (16).  Then take the whole day, with eight (8) hours for sleep.  Use this devotional to record the positive changes this makes to your energy and peace of mind.  Especially, notice all the ways your spirit is renewed each week and all the wisdom you gain from your well-deserved rest.

© 2022 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.

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