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  • Tim Keller

The 'How' Of Sabbath

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

(Original article titled "Six Ways to Practice Sabbath" by Tim Keller)


We all know that “remembering the Sabbath day” is one of the Ten Commandments. It was also a creation ordinance, one of the rules God made for his newly created children to aid them in their flourishing. (Genesis 2:2-3). So the idea of regularly resting from your work, while not involving less than observing a single day of rest, entails more.


In a culture that forces us to overwork, how can we practice Sabbath?


- Make sure some time is completely unplanned. This means having a day in which you can do whatever comes into your mind and heart to do at the moment.


- Take some aesthetic time. Throughout Genesis 1 and 2 we see God viewing all that he has made and saying, “It is good!” “It is good!” We also need to take time to simply enjoy the beauty of God’s world. The main thing to do with beautiful landscapes or great music or some other form of the arts is to take it in and say, “That is so good.” This refreshes and energizes in unique ways that the other forms of resting do not.


- Inject Sabbath into your work. Associated with the Sabbath laws were the gleaning laws, in which the owners of fields were not allowed to harvest out to the edges of their fields. They had to leave a percentage of grain in the field for the poor to come and take. Some people have used this as an inspiration for deliberately setting fewer goals for themselves in a given day and week, not harvesting out to the edges, not trying to squeeze productivity out of every single second of every day.


- Take some avocational time. An avocation is something that is pleasurable for you, but that takes some skill and expertise. Usually it is something that others do for a living. This could be a sport, but it also could be anything from carpentry to music.


- Take some contemplative time. The Bible requires that we observe the Sabbath day with gathered worship, but that is not all we should do. Prayer, solitude, journaling, reading and reflection are all crucial ways that we replenish our inward resting in Christ and his work alone for our salvation.


- Take time to nurture relationships. This is time with your family and friends, time set aside to pay full attention to the most important people in your life.


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EXTRA MATERIAL ON SABBATH:


YOUTUBE VIDEO: "Sabbath" by Bible Project

BOOK: "The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry" by John McComer

BOOK: "Keeping Sabbath Wholly" by Marva J. Dawn

PODCAST EPISODE: "Rest For Your Soul" - Bridgetown Audio Podcast

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