Preparing for Sabbath, a Day of Rest

Once I became a mom, the issue of resting on the Sabbath become a challenge. My duties and chores were many; how could I observe the Sabbath the way God commands when I kept thinking "I really need to get the dishes done" or "If I don't mop the floor now, it's going to drive me crazy all day?"

The first step for me was to fully embrace the day of rest that even God required. (Gen. 2:2-3) God commands us to keep the Sabbath and make it holy and without work (Deut. 5:12-15). Period.

I'll admit, it took me years to completely get my head and heart around a day of rest. But with Bible study and prayer, I've been able to submit to this command - and it's been a true blessing in our lives.

Yet among believers, there's a lot of debate about just how to keep the Sabbath. A few centuries ago, it wasn't uncommon for Christians to do nothing but go to church, read the Bible, pray, read devotionals, and meditate on the Lord on the Sabbath. By contrast, many modern Christians catch up on their chores.

For me, the biggest question was "What constitutes work?" You can read my 2010 post on that topic here. If you, too, wonder on this topic, I think that's a good sign. It means you are truly trying to obey God.

I am not going to give out a list of do's and don'ts for the Sabbath. I think it's important for all Christians to study the Bible and pray on this topic. (Here's one interesting article on the topic, to get you started. Here's another.) However, I would like to offer some ideas on how mothers can more easily observe God's holy day of "no work."

* Eat food that's already prepared and just needs reheating (or can be eaten cold). If you already double recipes and freeze them, this may be easy. Or you can double the meal the night before and keep it in the fridge. Or, the day before you can whip up another, simple meal from that night's leftovers, and refrigerate it.

* Do the dishes the night before. Sometimes I forget to do this, or I simply run out of time to do it. I'm learning to stop obsessing over that pile of dishes in the sink so I can focus on God - but I admit this is a tough one for me. Ideally, the dishes should be done and put away the night before; this way, we can just slip dirty dishes into the dishwasher on the Sabbath, keeping my mind more focused on God, not housework.

* Do at least one load of laundry every day, so you don't feel pressed to do any on the Sabbath. A day or two before the Sabbath, make sure everyone has clean clothes for Monday, so you aren't tempted to run "just one load" on the Sabbath.

* Make the day after the Sabbath "clean up" day. Spend the morning doing housework, so you don't feel burdened by it later in the week. Ideally, get the housework done the day before the Sabbath.

* Have lots of family time - and work to center that time around God. For example, if you go on a family outing in the woods, talk with your children about God's creation, pointing out specific examples of his ingenuity.

* Although a lot of people focus on what they're not supposed to do on the Sabbath, try to rein vision the Sabbath by thinking about the things Jesus told us we could do. For example, all works related to helping the needy are encouraged. (See, for example, Mark 3: 1-6.)

How do you observe the Sabbath?

No comments