Sabbath as a Statement
Everything we say and do is a statement these days. Our posts on social media, the neighborhood we live in, the school our kids attend, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the flag we fly on our house, or even the pet we own (we have a goldendoodle so make what you want of that). This has become more significant over the years. We have to be hyper-aware of what words we use or something we purchase because there will probably be an underlying or new meaning behind it that will make a statement to the world of who we are or what we stand for whether we mean for it to or not.
Maybe your mind is now thinking of all the unintentional statements you are making in life or perhaps you are reminded of all the ones you see from people around you. Whatever comes to mind will evoke an emotion or stream of thought either about that person or about the stance or cause being promoted.
And there it is.
It served its purpose.
It got you thinking and feeling a certain way.
Yes, this is good marketing, but it isn’t new. In fact, God uses this strategy! Don’t get me wrong; God’s primary goal isn’t marketing, but a good argument could be made for His brilliant strategy of spreading the Good News. God has been using His followers to live according to a different pattern than the world in order to share His love and message with those around us. This is His statement since the Fall in Genesis.
Yes, God loves a good statement piece. Something that makes us stand out from the world. Something that shows He is good and loving. Something that gives honor and glory to Him alone.
Jesus lived this way.
So we are called to live this way.
In a world where working hard and hustling, climbing the ladder of success, and being “busy” are applauded over patience, kindness, rest, and peace, practicing Sabbath can be one of the best statements we can make in our culture to show we are followers of Jesus.
Isn’t that brilliant!? A day where God has called us to rest from all our work, to enjoy this life and His creation alongside the people we love becomes a statement to the world around us that we are His people and that He loves us. Our practice of Sabbath shares the message of the Gospel with those around us. I feel like that alone will have people running to the altar, right?
Not only is Sabbath a gift from God to us, but it is a way we share His message to the world.
When you take a day to stop your regular work in worship to Jesus, you:
show others your trust and reliance on God is greater than your trust in what you can produce.
allow others you work with to take a break and rest as well.
slow down to recognize and appreciate the environment and people around you.
Stopping work for a day doesn’t just mean our 9-5 job; it can also be applied to our regular daily activities that keep us from fully entering His rest and worship. Maybe it’s social media or news, shopping, or eating out. Stopping or slowing any of these for 24hrs will have a positive impact on your heart as well as our world.
Sabbath was meant not only to benefit us as individuals, but also to benefit our community. The communal practice of Sabbath has wide-reaching effects.
For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed. Exodus 23:10-12
The ancient Israelites’ practice of the Sabbath day was meant to benefit the whole community around them — the poor, the animals, the crops, their servants, and even foreigners living among them. It was a day of refreshment for everyone.
Our personal, as well as communal, Sabbath practice can and should bring blessing upon other followers of Jesus as well as those that don’t know Him at all (i.e., “the foreigner living among us). Not all of us have fields or harvest crops, but we all work in some capacity that has an impact on those closest to us. When we stop our work, it will impact others in a positive way.
The Sabbath of a business owner will allow for employees to rest from work expectations that day.
The Sabbath of a stay-at-home parent will give the rest of the household a break.
The Sabbath of a surgeon will allow them to stay focused on his/her next procedure.
The Sabbath of a truck driver allows the earth to rest from exhaust for a day.
Sabbath is a gift to us, and in turn, a gift to others.
Making a statement doesn’t mean you have to be loud. In fact, the biggest statement we as followers of Jesus can make is to take a day of rest. To slow down or stop for a full day might just be the statement our world needs more than ever.