Troublesome Topic: Practical Ideas

I have been saying that we need to rest daily, weekly and yearly. Here are some practical ideas specific to the issue of how to make your chosen day of the week a day of rest in the biblical sense.

Plan Ahead

Go to bed early! Staying up late on Saturday night is yielding to temptation, it shows that we don’t put much priority on what happens Sunday morning. If your day of rest is not Sunday, the principle still applies, go to bed at a reasonable time the night before. Also, do what you can to prepare food, clothes and other things the day before.

Create a Demarcation in Time

Don’t wait for work to be done, stop at an appointed time on Saturday.

Find something that will visibly symbolize when to stop. Some light a candle to symbolize the beginning of their Sabbath; some consider the evening meal to be the beginning of their Sabbath. The important thing is that we have a set time we tell ourselves that unfinished tasks must remain unfinished because there is something more important to do—rest, connect.

Do you think the world will stop if you don’t finish your to-do list?

Consciously resist the laws of inertia that make getting stopped and re-started the most difficult. Train yourself to stop and then start up again. Making a demarcation in time will help in this area. With practice you will be able to do this with little effort, and then you will actually look forward to the opportunity to stop.

Set aside What Is Not Consistent with Sabbath Principles

During the Sabbath set aside things you do not need, or do not take you closer to God and family.

During your Sabbath find things you can purposefully set aside in order to enjoy time with God. Consider setting aside car keys, cell phones, iPods, iPads, laptops, video game units, the TV remote, etc. Some Jews have been known to use a Sabbath Box, putting such things in that box at the beginning of Sabbath and locking the box until the Sabbath is over.

Another option would be to decide as a family that on the day of rest everyone in the family will use things like the video player, or a laptop exclusively to connect with family in a God-honoring way. You could watch an inspiring movie together, or show each other the very best You Tube videos or Facebook posts you have come across during the week. Laughing together makes for great memories. The key word here is “together.”

During your day of rest set aside emotional stresses you can’t do anything about; release them to Him. This is easy to understand but hard to do.

Play Games as a Family

There are few things as useful in drawing families together as playing games together. Those could be table games, or active games played outside. Do yourself a favor and do not allow video games to be included. But make sure there is something for everyone in the family. As parents, don’t make this about yourself, but about the children.

Take a Walk

Go on a walk as a family or as a couple. Get into nature; in nature we see God’s handiwork, in buildings we see man’s handiwork, so get into nature because it will help you get closer to God.

Take a Nap

If you need to, take a long nap. Physical rest is not contrary to the biblical concept of Sabbath, but it must take a back seat to spiritual rest, which is connecting with God. Someone cannot sleep all day and say he has fulfilled his duties regarding Sabbath. But once you have enjoyed healthy amounts of time with God and family, by all means, take a nap.

Eat Meals Together

If you are one of those families that does not eat meals together, or if you eat in front of the TV without much interaction going on between the members of the family, I highly recommend you start eating meals together every day, at the table, with all distractions turned off. Make meals a time for interaction as a family where everyone is encouraged to participate in the conversation but no one dominates it.

On your day of rest purposefully allow longer than usual for mealtimes and encourage longer periods of sharing together around the meal. Tell stories. Make it a time of celebration and sharing; don’t rush your meals, and on the day of rest purposefully extend them.

The next lesson is Rest With God Even When It’s Hard