True Sabbath

Every year, my wife Linda and I spend vacation (holiday for our international friends) expelling great “sighs” while sitting on my brother’s patio in Montecito, California overlooking the ocean.  Low 70’s, sunny every day!  REST at its BEST.  One February, we were especially reminded of the rest we find in escaping the Colorado winter, when our housesitting son sent a picture of the 2 feet of snow that had accumulated on the deck back home in our absence.

Our Need For Rest

The rhythm of work and rest is essential to living a balanced life.  We consider our February sojourns to California to be our yearly “Sabbath.”  Yes, physically stopping from our “labors,” relaxing, and simply being for a while.  It IS necessary for humans or we will burn ourselves out too quickly.  

But if you examine the Sabbath command in Exodus 20 you will discover it is unique among the 10.  It is the only command that provides an accompanying illustration:

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the 7th day.  Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  

In so saying, the command elevates and dignifies work as well as endorsing the importance of regular rest.  Moreover, the 7th day of “rest” is a celebration of accomplishment.  God finished the creation, then rested.  The work was done.

Our Rest In Christ

Celebration of that which has been done already IS the centerpiece of Christianity.  The Christian life is a continual, and repeated choice to rest in the finished work of Christ – and receive the grace that we desperately need. 

I want to submit that we “keep the Sabbath” command every time we celebrate Communion or the Lord’s Table.  In 1 Corinthians 11:26 Paul gives the instruction, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”  Remember the last words of Christ on the cross?  “It is finished!”  And so we enter into His rest.

One year, our California vacation was punctuated by the sudden and unfortunate death of a young man we knew with Down’s Syndrome.  He was the focus and devotion of his parents’ lives.  “A mother’s worst nightmare,” she wrote to us in response to our calls expressing sympathy and sadness.   Yes, it is.  And would be the dark horror accompanying all our days were it not for our REST.  And the wondrous anticipation of promised reunion on THAT DAY.  

To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:  Celebrate and rest in the finished work of Jesus and await His great day of reunion.  That is true Sabbath.



Len Crowley currently serves as a Board Member for Strategic Renewal. Len has a broad ministry background within the church – serving as pastor of four churches, Bible teacher, board member, and ministry director. Len has also provided leadership to the non-profit sector as well. He is the Co-Founder of Whole in One (designing multi-ethnic collaborations) has led PLI Global (worldwide, character-based leadership training), helped direct COUNSEL & CAPITAL (a non-profit investment bank), and trained trainers as a National Instructor with Walk Thru the Bible. He and his wife, Linda, currently reside in Monument, CO.