Imagine I’m your employer. You work for me Monday to Saturday. But one day I say to you, “Hey Tom, I’m going to give you every Monday off work. And I want you to use it to rest but also to learn more about me and my company. That way you’ll be refreshed and you’ll contribute even more to my company the five days you do work. You’ll also be a lot healthier and happier according to the latest science.

You say, “Thanks so much David! You’re the best boss ever!” But then you go out and spend Monday Uber-ing and delivering pizzas.

What are you thinking? More importantly, What will I be thinking?

Yet many of us do this with the weekly rest day God gives us. We might give him an hour or two at church on Sunday morning, but after that it’s back to our agenda, our work, our sports. What are we thinking? What is he thinking?

A Full Day

God was the first example of six days work and one day of rest (and he didn’t need it). Adam and Eve were the second example, and they didn’t need it as much as we do because they were had perfect bodies in a perfect world. God called Israel to remember that creation example as a pattern for them (Ex. 20:11) And Jesus reminds us that the Sabbath was made for humanity (Mark. 2:27). It’s one of God’s great gifts that we should gratefully receive rather than reject. Jesus said that he was Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8). It is a day that demonstrates his Lordship in our lives.

A Rest Day

God gives spiritual rest.The Lord’s Day is a day of Gospel rest, a day to remember that we are saved not by our own works but by God alone by grace alone. Does our use of the Lord’s Day demonstrate that we have turned away from all our work to rest entirely in his?

God gives physical rest. It’s a day for our bodies to be still, to be renewed by a break from our physical labors. Yes, he calls us to work hard for six days but he also calls us to rest hard for one day. Six days are for “all our work” but the seventh is for Sabbath. Men, help your wife to enjoy a Sabbath too.

God gives mental rest. Although our minds will be engaged in hearing the Word and learning from God, yet it’s such a change to our usual weekly worries that it’s a mental rest. Plus, lifting our minds to things above make things below look much smaller.

God gives us emotional rest. Turn off the internet and email and give yourself a total break so that you can calm and soothe your frayed emotions and seek true joy and peace in spiritual things. Renew the bonds of family and friendship.

Action: Sabbath Experiment

A weekly Sabbath is such a gift of God. Nothing will supercharge your spirituality and maturity faster than using this gift in the way God intended. So, I’m challenging you to an experiment. Practice a weekly Sabbath for the next four Sundays and see what a difference it makes to you spiritually, physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Just try it. Go to church twice on Sunday, or once to church and once to your small group if that’s what your church does. Go to the adult Sunday school. Turn off the Internet and TV and use the time to read Christian books, or to meet with other Christians in fellowship. Go for a walk to meditate on God’s creation. If you really want to be a godly man, then take this weekly gift of God and use it as God intended it to be used.

Real Men Rest

Discussion Questions

1. What are the obstacles or excuses in the way of you taking a weekly rest day?

2. What ways can you improve your use of God’s gift of a weekly rest day?

3. What message is preached by your use or neglect of the weekly rest day?

Further Reading

Come to Me and Rest
Keeping the Sabbath Saved My Marriage, My Ministry, and Probably My Life
Sabbath as a Sermon for the Ambitious
The Power of Deep Rest
Christ’s Help for Sabbath-Keeping
Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. But How? (Podcast)
The Sabbath Day Brings Real Rest and Refreshment
The Best Day of the Week