Keeping the Sabbath Holy

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

— Exodus 20:8

When Sunday rolls around, do you take the day off to play, rest, dwell on God, and interact with family and friends? Or do you see Sunday as another day to clean the house, catch up on work, weed the garden, and wash the car?

While under attack by many today, the Sabbath is a blessing, not a curse. When God created the earth, He created the Sabbath as part of the weekly cycle of life. It is a day of rest—something sorely needed these days. In commanding us to observe the Sabbath, God has given us a greater life—time to rejoice and laugh and praise Him. We need to set aside this time to be with our families, to study the Bible in depth, to serve, to rest.

In 1618, Great Britain’s King James I wrote a book on sports in which he encouraged all Englishmen to play sports on the Sabbath afternoon. This idea upset many Christians and pastors, becoming one of the reasons the Puritans left England within the next couple of decades. In fact, the Pilgrims and Puritans sacrificially dedicated themselves to obedience of this command. The Pilgrims’ voyage to America on the Mayflower took many months. A storm finally blew them into Plymouth on a Sunday morning and landed them on Clark’s Island across from the rock where they finally came ashore. Despite their long containment on the boat, they didn’t rush off it on that Sunday morning. Instead, they honored the Sabbath, attending worship services and praising God. The next morning they landed on Plymouth Rock.

Eric Liddell, the hero of Chariots of Fire, also observed the Sabbath and received tremendous blessing for it. Though the Olympic committee had planned his race for a Sunday, he refused to run. He gave up his spot that day, and for all he knew, he had given up his chance for an Olympic medal. But the committee allowed him to run the 400-meter race (which he had never before run), and despite his inexperience, Liddell won the gold medal.

If you don’t already observe the Sabbath, I encourage you to give it a try this week. Set aside Sunday to worship, rest, and rejuvenate. As you do, I’m certain you’ll discover the Sabbath is a blessing of renewal and rest, for God’s glory and your good.

“As the Sabbath goes, so goes the nation.”
Theological Maxim