Wholly Living

The Importance of Setting Aside Time to Rest

“The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27 by David Cox

When a computer goes haywire, the first solution typically is to restart it. If the Internet cuts out, tech support usually asks you to turn the modem off for a little bit. Might the same advice work for a person?

In Genesis, God demonstrated by example that one day a week should be set aside for rest. In Leviticus and Deuteronomy, He elaborated on this by instructing the children of Israel to work six days and rest from their work on the Sabbath. By Jesus’ day, the religious leaders had developed such a complex system of laws governing the Sabbath that it was difficult to know what was or was not classified as “work.” First-century Jews had to be mindful of how far they walked and what they carried with them on the Sabbath. Walking too far or carrying even a light object could be considered “working.”

In Mark 2:27, Jesus said:

“The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”

The Sabbath was meant to be a gift—not a burden.

Today many Christians have no qualms about going to the office, doing household chores, or engaging in other “work” on Sunday. While it may not be a sin to carry out the trash after church, experts recognize that people still need routine breaks to avoid burnout.

In secular circles, many business leaders and entrepreneurs have carved out time to rest each week. Author Anne Lamott writes, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” In his book, The Hard Break Aaron Edelheit describes the benefits of setting aside one day a week to take a solid break from work. There seems to be a consensus that it is healthy to set aside time to rest regularly.

The biblical Sabbath was not a day intended for vegging out in front of a television. It was a day set apart to rest, worship God, and fellowship with friends and family. Some families may reserve Sundays for church, physical rest, reading, and talking with one another. Others may observe the Sabbath differently. However, everyone can benefit from taking a rest once in a while.


Continue learning about Sabbath Rest with the Lt. Colonel Tim Foley’s debut book, Rest – For the Rest of Us.

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