The Sabbath is a gift to be enjoyed

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God created the Sabbath.

We read in Genesis 2:2, “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.” The creation of the Sabbath is so important to God that he mandated its observance in the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:8–11).

The Sabbath used to be observed on Saturdays, but that all changed after Jesus lived, died, and rose from death on a Sunday. Christians now acknowledge that the Sabbath is supposed to be observed on Sunday, “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10), as a way of recognizing the resurrection of Jesus. This is why we gather together on Sunday to worship our risen Lord together.

God’s creation of the Sabbath was given to us as a gift to be enjoyed.

Unfortunately, religious people too often treat this gift as a bad thing by placing a ton of irrelevant rules around it. This is when the Sabbath turns into a burden to bear, and not a gift to be enjoyed.

To make a ton of rules for the Sabbath is like making birthday cake rules. Birthday cake is a happy and fantastic thing. It doesn’t need a list of rules. You give it to someone and they’ll figure out that it just needs a fork.

If you want to ruin a birthday cake, give one to a kid and say, “OK, here’s your birthday cake. It’s not chocolate, which is what you wanted, but vanilla. We’re religious, and we don’t do chocolate or sprinkles. So, eat your vanilla cake on Tuesday, not on Monday or Wednesday. You have to eat it between 2:17 and 2:19 p.m., not before or after. Eat it with your left hand, not your right hand. Use a spoon, not a fork. And if you drop it on the floor, there’s no 10-second rule. You can’t pick it up and eat it. Now, go and enjoy your birthday cake.”

At this point, eating birthday cake would be more like going to the dentist. It’s something you have to do, not something you get to do. It could have been awesome, but it was ruined.

God gives us a good gift to be enjoyed in the Sabbath. He tells us, “Hey, you know what? Take a day off.”

The Sabbath is a good thing and God desires for you to rest and be refreshed.

Take a day off. Enjoy God. Enjoy your family, friends, and community. Take a nap. Practice hospitality. You can do all of this on the Sabbath because the sovereign God of the universe still has everything under control, even when you’re resting.

This post is adapted from the sermon “Jesus the Sabbath Lord,” part 22 of the Luke sermon series.