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The Sabbath Blog

Discovering the Gift of Time

Discovering the Gift of Time
The Citrus Chronicle in Florida published an article entitled “Sabbath rest 101” by Nancy Kennedy, and it’s worth a read—even by longtime seventh-day Sabbath keepers.

Kennedy shares her recent acquaintance with the idea of Sabbath as time to rest from normal daily work and how challenging it can be for new believers to adopt it into their routine of demanding daily schedules.

Her journey in understanding the Sabbath has just begun, but she has concluded that Sabbath is a gift, rather than a burden that gets in the way of our lives. In understanding why God provided us with such a gift, she has cleared an important hurdle that every Sabbath keeper needs to clear.

In Genesis chapter 2, God finished His work and set aside the Sabbath as holy time to rest from work, to spend with Him, and to build better human relationships. Then in Exodus, we see this theme of sacred time reiterated in the Ten Commandments. The fourth one clearly reminds us to “remember” this time set apart by God. In Ezekiel 20:20, God identified the Sabbath as a sign of His relationship with us—meaning how we spend that time reflects our value of who He is and His desire to be in relationship with us.

Because Sabbath is so important to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, God often had to provide specific directions about how to spend this holy time. In Exodus, we are told to rest from our normal, everyday activities. This rest includes every social class and even animals. What a gracious God! In our busy lives, He has set aside time that we can spend without feeling guilty about the things we aren’t doing. God’s desire is for us to take delight in Him and in His holy day (Isaiah 58:13, 14).

The famous Jewish author Abraham Joshua Heschel writes about the Sabbath as a “Sanctuary in Time.” That is, time set aside, available to anyone, anywhere. It provides each of us the opportunity to take time with the Creator, to rest in His love, to find peace in following His commands. Let’s thank God for revealing the meaning of the gift of Sabbath to precious souls like Nancy Kennedy—and pray that the rest of us experience it more deeply.

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