“REMEMBER THE SABBATH, TO KEEP IT HOLY. SIX DAYS YOU SHALL LABOR AND DO ALL YOUR WORK. BUT THE SEVENTH DAY IS A SABBATH OF THE LORD YOUR GOD; IN IT YOU SHALL NOT DO ANY WORK.”
I have found that one of the keys to staying vibrant and fresh in my ministry is to take a day off each week. It is important that I set aside time each week to stop working and to do some things that will help me relax and take the pressure off myself. For a long time, Friday was my scheduled day off of work, and I tried to make sure I honor that day. Sometimes I would feel overwhelmed with the amount of work that I need to get done, and will come in for some or most of the day on Friday. Now the day I take away from work floats a bit more, but I still strive to make sure I step away from study and ministry at some time during the week. I find that I feel burned out and exhausted at the end of the weekend, to the point that by Sunday I will have a hard time being effective. The worst part is that I will find it hard to worship on Sunday if I don’t get away from my labor during the week. On the other hand, if I take that day, I will be much more at ease and ready for anything on Saturday and Sunday.
God realized the importance in this sort of rest for His people. He realized that they would not be effective in their jobs, or their families if they worked seven days a week. On top of that, He knew that they would not be able to worship properly without their Sabbath. The Sabbath is literally Saturday, and was the day of rest for the Hebrew people. It was their day to cease from their works and find their rest in God. For this reason, one of the Ten Commandments is to remember the Sabbath.
But there is also a deeper meaning to the Sabbath. Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of this command. He is our Sabbath, our place of rest. Most people strive for God’s acceptance on their own. They work at keeping God’s law and commands. They think that by going to church, and doing good deeds they can earn the right to go to heaven. But the end results of their work will leave these people empty, and without hope. No matter how hard you try, or how good you are, your own works will leave you exhausted and unable to truly worship.
Jesus Christ provided access into God’s presence, by faith. When you place your trust in Jesus, He becomes your Sabbath, your place of rest. You no longer try to please God with your own goodness and works. Instead, you trust completely in what God did through Jesus on the cross. This chapter deals with the idea of entering God’s rest. The concept of rest is linked to the Sabbath, the day of rest. But the fulfillment of the Sabbath has taken place in Jesus Christ. When we enter His rest, it will refresh us, and will set us free. Most important, His rest frees us up to worship Him, because we are no longer working on our own.