When God finished His first week of work, He had a precious and crowning gift of creation. He saved this gift for last because He wanted to make sure everything was in readiness. His entire, brand new world had to be ready … there had to be someone made like Him to savor and enjoy this perfect gift.
Genesis 2:1-3 from Today’s English Version says, “And so the whole universe was completed. By the seventh day God finished what He had been doing and stopped working. He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day He had completed His creation and stopped working.”
Have you ever stopped to wonder just exactly what Adam and Eve did that very first Sabbath? If I had been there, I’m sure the day would have been filled with exclamations and questions … look over there! Where is that wonderful smell coming from? Feel how soft. Did you hear that?
God knew that we would need a whole day, an entire 24 hours to stop, look and listen so we could be more in harmony with Him. Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word Shabbat which means rest or cessation. But who has time for that these days?
In a Time Magazine article, entitled “And on the Seventh Day we Rested?” one sentence caught my eye. “The U.S. is too diverse, our lives too busy, our economy too global and our appetites too vast to lose a whole day that could be spent working or playing or power shopping.”
But I prefer to say, “The Sabbath is a great stress reliever. When you turn off the washing machine, the dryer, the radio, the TV, the computer, the telephone (well, maybe that’s taking it too far!) --- that’s quiet, that’s peace.”
God knew man’s natural tendency would be to become so engrossed with the things He had made during the six days of creation week that we might forget about the One who made them.
Author Mary Ann O’Roark tells the story of a friend at church who greeted her at the end of church one day by saying “Enjoy the rest of the Sabbath.” And that started her thinking about her childhood and how her family had spent their day of worship. A day when they had stopped thinking about the things they had to do and thought about what God wanted.
I have found that looking forward to something increases our enjoyment of it. Important social events like parties, graduations, and weddings (not to mention Christmas) mean a lot to us partly because we dream about them and plan for them for so long.
For the Sabbath to become everything to us we must keep it in our thoughts every day of the week. Anticipation leads to preparation. A happy Sabbath doesn’t just happen, any more than a banquet just happens. It is the result of careful planning. What to eat, what to wear, whom to share it with. Everyone gets involved in the planning and preparation.
In our family, Sabbath has always begun on Friday evening, with a traditional meal handed down from my mom. I’m sure that she never dreamed she was starting a tradition when she began started making vege-burgers on Friday night 60 years ago!
OK, I’ve stopped, it’s quiet, now what? Do we just sit during the Sabbath hours? Not me, I’m a doer.
So what can I DO on Sabbath? We’ve all seen pictures of people who have had a “Makeover”, hairstyle, makeup, wardrobe … So how about trying a spiritual makeover? Once a week on Sabbath, try some of these suggestions and see how it affects your life.
Find a box you like or decorate one and write down things or people that you’re specifically praying for. When you have received a definite answer to a prayer, write that down too. On Friday evening, read through the things in your prayer box. Spend a few extra minutes talking to God and sharing with Him.
A few of the ways memorizing can be fun are:
Singing a song
Memorize while you walk
Read the verses aloud
Write the verses by hand
Post the verses in prominent places ---- steering wheel, refrigerator, by the phone
Bible Verse A Day
Find verses that you can send to a friend each day during the week. Look for verses that will speak specifically to their needs.
Send a short note or text to someone. A student who is away at school or someone you haven’t seen for a few weeks will always appreciate being remembered. Include a scripture passage you’re trying to memorize --- benefits both of you!
Hand-copy a book of the Bible in a blank journal. The Chapel Oaks congregation did this once for a pastor who was leaving our congregation – each member wrote a verse from his favorite Bible book. He tells us that he still treasures this gift.
Sabbath is a great time for reading. Series books are wonderful and can become a family tradition in their own right. If you have children in the family, Guide’s Greatest Series are a good choice.
Plan an old-time Sabbath for a future week at church. Include:
Hand written bulletin
Early Advent Songs
Picnic together on the church lawn
But most of all, remember that Sabbath is more than just a day. It is a connection with God. Put all other things aside to honor that relationship.
That doesn’t mean we don’t do anything. People are always doing something. But we can take a step back from our lives – in respect and gratitude for the One who made us, and do something different.
People are willing to try all sorts of different therapy today. There is Massage Therapy, Aromatherapy, Psychotherapy, etc. etc.
I recommend God’s therapy, the Sabbath!
It’s a prescription He wrote for you; to be taken once a week. Best of all, it’s free! All you have to do is open your heart and let the renewal begin. - Darlene Fairchild