the good way

2. STOP.

Session 3 • Sabbath • Activation

The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word ‘Shabbat’, which means ‘to stop.’

STOP (verb)

come to an end; cease to happen. (of an event, action, or process)

The first thing we need to do to begin enjoying Sabbath rest is to stop, to draw our work to a close, to cease striving, to draw a line in the sand when it comes to our consumerism and enter into an intentional time of rest.

  • What gets in the way of you stopping?
  • What do you think will happen if you stop?

The writer to the Hebrews encourages the people to rest from their labor, just as God did from his. Interestingly, the writer also says this:

“Make every effort to enter that rest.” Hebrews 4:11

In other words, we must labor to rest. Engaging in Sabbath will require a level of effort on our part, an effort that will reap infinite benefits.

Sabbath is the day to embrace our limits and cease work, whether it be paid or unpaid. It’s a day to sit and realize that we will never finish all our goals and projects, indeed, we will all die one day with things undone. Sabbath is the day we practice the true reality that it’s God who’s on the throne running the universe, and not us.

Stopping reveals to us any imbalance that exists in the relationship between ourselves and our activity. It reveals where, or in what, we place our identity and our trust. You might find it helpful to reflect on these questions related to your relationship with work/activity:

  • What gives me my sense of worth and value?
  • To what extent am I motivated by fear and guilt, rather than desire, freedom and the invitation of the Holy Spirit?

If you are particularly fortunate, you may be able to enter into Sabbath feeling like you’ve done everything you needed or wanted to do in advance, but the vast majority of the time you will enter into Sabbath without having crossed every t and dotted every i because that is the discipline of Sabbath. It’s saying, I’ve done everything I could and I recognize that there are things left undone or things done imperfectly, and regardless, I will stop now.

Practical Considerations:

Sometimes it is helpful to do something that symbolizes a shift into Sabbath, something that draws a line in the sand and creates a clear distinction between the rest of the week and this special, holy day. You might want to reflect on something that would feel natural for you.

  • Light a candle. You might even want to set aside a special Sabbath candle that you light only on this day.
  • Stow away your laptop in a place where it will stay until Sabbath is over.
  • Power down your phone for a planned period of time, or even place it in a drawer, out of reach.
  • Read a Psalm or say a prayer, consecrating this time of rest to God, as an act of worship.
  • Take a walk and watch the sunset.
  • Enjoy a special Sabbath meal - is there a way that you can celebrate on the Sabbath that you don’t do during the week, with dessert or a glass of wine?

Now that you have stopped, congratulations, this is a counter-cultural act of trust and surrender. Welcome to a time of rest, contemplation and delight.

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