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The Lost Art of Sabbath

Few would argue with commonly heard exasperations like there’s too much to do, life seems too busy or I’m just too overwhelmed.  If that’s you, I’d suggest turning towards what God says: Stop.  Or, using His word: Sabbath.  Sabbath means stop, and God tells us to do this thing called keeping the Sabbath. Not as a helpful suggestion, but as a commandment. Every seven days we are to remember the stop (Sabbath) day and keep it holy.  Through Sabbath, we find time to not only rest but to encounter a “holy delight” in His presence and gifts. Perhaps it’s time to consider the lost art of Sabbath.

Sabbath means stop

I recently returned from a Sabbatical, a three month season of replenishment and renewal.  It was one of the most replenishing times of my life. My eyes were opened to just how replenishing it is to create whitespace.  Whitespace means clearing out the mental to-do list.  It’s giving emotional room to experience events moment by moment and focus on being instead of doing.

Throughout my Sabbath, I spent early morning moments watching sunrises with coffee in hand and savoring God’s word. That time created a new awareness in me of God’s presence throughout the day. There were wonderful times with my wife, especially during our three-week road trip. We were in awe of God’s beautiful creation. We laughed and feasted with friends and were warmed with meaningful moments with family. I returned to spend time in restorative activities like gardening or building while listening to inspirational music that turned my heart toward God. Behind all the Sabbatical activities was an awareness of how God is delighted with me and beckons me to delight in Him as well. I more deeply experienced the extreme generosity that God offers in the gift of Jesus.  Wow!  Jesus gave His life for me that my life would be filled with Him.

Whitespace means clearing out the mental to-do list.

Our weekly Sabbath can be filled with the same delight. Sabbath is a time for worship and replenishment in His word as we gather with others in the Body of Christ. It is a day of feasting and finding delight in the gifts of people whom God has surrounded us. We throw away the “to-do” list and get lost in the moments of enjoying one another.  We create “white space” meaning that we leave thoughts of work behind. We open our eyes to better see beauty and relish it. We laugh out loud.  We give ourselves permission to do some of those restorative activities that fill our emotional buckets. These too are a gift from God. Finally, and above all, we more deeply experience the extreme generosity that God offers in the gift of Jesus. Wow! Jesus gave His life for us that our lives would be filled with Him!

Learn More about Sabbath in Whitespace,

a new series starting Oct. 20

About the Author

Roger Theimer

Dr. Roger Theimer is the Pastor of Faith Formation and Director of Kids Kount Publishing at King of Kings.