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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

How Well Do You “Shabbat?”

Updated: 5 days ago

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8 ESV). 

“It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:17 (ESV).

It was apparent my friend was searching for the right words. 

Waiting for him to begin, I silently prayed, “Lord, help me to hear.” I could tell something was heavy on his heart. His countenance displayed his anxiousness. Fidgeting briefly, he said, “I feel as if I need to be doing more. I have this haunting feeling that what I’m doing isn’t enough.” 

It wasn’t my first time hearing these words from a pastor or leader. 

I, too, have spoken those words. Perhaps you can identify with the feeling that there must be more to do, accomplish, or strive toward. But when is it ever “enough”? 

Smiling at my friend, I asked: “What if you were to do less? Is it possible that what you’re doing IS enough?” He stared at me. He was bewildered to think that doing less could even be a probability.

I get it. 

We’re constantly reminded that what we have isn’t enough; what we’re doing may be good, but there must be more we could and should do. But why? Why do we believe this “merry-go-round of doing more” will advance us? 

“May I have your permission to ask a personal question?” I asked. 

“Of course,” my pastor friend replied. 

“How well do you Shabbat?” I asked. “What is your Sabbath day each week?” 

My question lingered in the air. The silence was palpable. He acknowledged that due to his pressing schedule and demands, he did not regularly observe time to “Shabbat” (take rest and find refreshment). 

He’s not alone!

I’m not making an argument about which day the Sabbath is. I am reminding us that God has commanded us to “Shabbat.” He modeled for us the importance of rest and refreshment. 

“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation”  (Genesis 2:2–3 ESV).

Jesus amplifies this commandment with some beautiful seasoning: “And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 ESV). 

Did you hear that? 

The Sabbath is God’s gift to us—an invitation to enter into rest and refreshment. A reason to do less, not more. So, may I ask: How well do you Shabbat?

-Richard Parrish


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