Sabbath Rest

Sabbath: Increasing My Delight in God

Melany Forbes, our NCBC Family Associate, plays a key role in the writing of our weekly sermon series Study Guides. As she has immersed herself in the Rhythms series, we asked her what God has revealed to her through her studies.

God has really caught my attention with the rhythm of sabbath. As I have combed through a variety of resources on spiritual disciplines over the last few months, this practice stood out more than the rest. I’m drawn to it and intrigued by the ancient roots and the clear command God gives us to remember it.

Up until now, my only understanding of how to remember the sabbath was going to church on Sunday. But God is opening my eyes to the richness of His intent behind the sabbath. I am drawn to the creativity that can exist within this practice. I want to experience the depth of knowing God and what we can experience together.

Sabbath is more than a day off and more than an observance of certain rules. There is no one-size-fits-all sabbath. It’s ok for my “stop-day” to look be different from yours. One of the authors I read likened sabbath to a weekly holiday. It is a day that takes intentionality and preparation in order to be set apart from all the others.

As enthralled as I am with the idea of Sabbath, I have no idea what it will look like for me. My plan for the next few months is to test out some things with my family and see how they fit. Some pieces may work well for me but not my 5th grader. Some may work well with my 2nd and 3rd grader but not my husband.

I am not looking for a one-day escape from my crazy week. Instead, I am in search of a weekly practice that will increase my delight in God and open my ever-widening eyes to His presence all around me.

If you are looking for some ideas to jump-start your sabbath creativity, check out this list created by Bridgetown Church.

Ideas for Singles:

  • Spend time with friends and family. Get coffee, go out to lunch, take a walk, etc.
  • Clear your schedule of work and errands
  • Enjoy this season of life by focusing on God’s presence
  • Spend time in spiritual reading
  • Listen to a podcast or teaching on the Bible.

Ideas for Married Couples:

  • Spend time together catching up
  • Don’t fight (there are six other days to do that). Avoid hard conversations
  • Don’t talk about things that aren’t restful (i.e., stuff you need to get done in the coming week)
  • Talk about your personal and shared discipleship
  • Have sex
  • Give your spouse space to do what is life-giving for them. (Introvert married to an extrovert? Spend the morning reading in the quiet (introvert time), then go out to an early dinner with friends (extrovert).

Ideas for Young families:

  • Spend time together as a family in celebration of life
  • Have one parent watch the kids for a few hours, while the other goes off to rest or do something life-giving, then swap
  • Take your kids to the park or on a fun, restful outing
  • Have your kids light the candles of the sabbath and ask them what they symbolize. (The two commands from the Ten Commandments: remember and observe the sabbath)
  • Share highlights of the week together
  • Have kids nap, have a quiet time, or go to bed early
  • Have a special breakfast set out for the kids to eat first thing, so the parents can sleep in and relax
  • Have a special box of toys that your kids just get to play with on the sabbath
  • Keep those video games off
  • Recognize it’s hard to rest with little kids, but this is a season. Do your best.

Ideas for Older Families or Empty Nesters:

  • Spend time together as a family or couple in celebration of life
  • Share a meal together and discuss the highlights of the week
  • Have a time of prayer and Bible reading as a family
  • Go on a fun, but restful outing to a park, coffee shop, or restaurant
  • Read.