One of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV) reads, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
I know we are set free from the law by the blood of Jesus Christ, but I still believe that the heart of God has not changed. I feel pretty strongly that God still wants us to keep the Sabbath holy and to rest. But going even deeper than that, I think it is a gift that God has given to us as humans. A time to renew our bodies physically, mentally, and spiritually.
How often do I hear people sayings things such as:
"I'm just so tired."
"I'm just too busy."
"I am totally overwhelmed and stressed out."
"I have too much to do."
God has given us a gift on Sunday. God knows we need rest. God knows we need to recover from a hard week of work and be renewed. So, I try very hard to be conscious of everything I do on a Sunday and whether or not it is a restful activity or not.
Here is a list of things I typically do not do on a Sunday.
I do not cook.
I do not do any house cleaning.
I do not exercise.
I do not sort through the mail or do the bills.
I do not allow the children to do chores to earn money.
I do not work on house projects or other projects that I would consider as work and not as pleasure.
Here is a list of things I might typically do on a Sunday.
Take a nap.
Go on an outing with my kids.
Go for a Sunday drive.
Play a game.
Sit and watch TV.
Have a movie marathon with the family and eat popcorn.
One thing I do, which I have loved, is to not cook on Sundays. Exodus 35:1-3 (NIV) says, "Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, 'These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do: For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.'" Do I think that God is going to strike me down if I light a fire in my dwelling, or in other words, cook? No. However, I do think it is His heart for me to rest, because He loves me.
So, on Sundays we have leftover day. I pull everything out of the refrigerator and anything out of the pantry which are perishable food items. I lay it out across the counter in all it's glory. Everyone gets to pick from their favorites from the week. This week's choices were homemade vegetable soup, nachos, chocolate chess pie, Chinese restaurant leftovers, chicken and wild rice, spinach pasta, mini-ravioli, or sandwiches. There are fewer dishes generated, because I didn't have to use any pots or pans or spatulas or strainers. If you come to our house on a Sunday, please know that it will probably be leftover day. My dad came to stay with us one time for almost a month. By the second Sunday, he knew the drill. He was staking his claim to his favorites from the week before I had even pulled all the choices out of the refrigerator. It is also serves to clean out my refrigerator once a week, reduces my food waste, and also reduces my grocery bill.
On rare occasions, some Sundays we just don't have enough leftovers for lunch and dinner. On those Sundays I will be forced to cook, because my family has to eat, right? If the toilet starts to leak all over the floor on a Sunday, we will work and fix the toilet if that is what we have to do. I just try my best to not do any work if I can help it. I also find that on Monday I am more than ready to hit the ground running. It is harder than it seems, at least for me, to sit around and do nothing. My mind is constantly thinking and seeing things that need to be done. The Lord knows our bodies need rest. The Lord knows our minds need rest. The Lord knows we need to be refueled spiritually. The Lord knows our schedules need a rest. I would encourage each and every one of you to see Sunday as a day of rest. I believe it is a gift given to us to renew us so we can get back up and do it all over again. I thank God for the Sabbath. I don't know about you, but I know I could surely use the rest.
"Then He said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'"