A new perspective on keeping the Sabbath

Ricky Ortiz

It’s Monday...again.

Once more you find yourself trying to muster up the courage to get up, get ready, and face the week. The date is different, but the feeling is the same.

“Is the weekend over already???” 

“I don’t know how I’m going to get through this week!”

“Why can’t the kids and my work take care of themselves?!”

“It’s too early in the week to be this tired…”

The dreaded Monday blues happen to all of us. It’s why phrases like TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday) and songs like “Working for the Weekend” exist. We’ve all entered the workweek, or school week, anticipating the weekend ahead before the week has even started. We look forward to taking a couple of days off before we ever have to be “on.”

Working to Rest

It’s funny how we can have an entire weekend off and feel like we just barely caught our breath. If you’re like me, then you’ve found yourself repeating this cycle way too often.

I worked hard during the week. I was proud of my work, and I loved the feeling of putting in a “good day’s work.” String five of those “good days” together, and now I’ve got a great week. On top of that, I had a marriage I was trying to sustain and a toddler I was trying to keep alive. Mix it all together, and it’s no wonder I was exhausted heading into the weekend!

I remember saying to myself, “It can’t be like this forever.” I knew God instructed us to work six days and then rest on the seventh, but I kept trying to figure out why God would only give us one day of rest when two barely felt like enough. Is this really what God meant when He offered an abundant life (John 10:10)?

A Fresh Look at the First Sabbath in the Bible

Then it hit me: What if I have been looking at the Sabbath — a day of rest dedicated to the Lord — all wrong? What if God gave the Sabbath not as a catch-up from the week before, but as a catalyst for the week ahead?

What if God gave the Sabbath not as a catch-up from the week before, but as a catalyst for the week ahead?

Genesis 2:2 says, “...on the seventh day [God] rested from all his work.” God worked six days, then rested on the seventh. Sunday is the beginning of the week and Saturday is the conclusion. So naturally, we look to Saturday as our day of rest. But something isn’t right in this sequence.

God created, then He rested, but man was created to enter rest. On the sixth day, Adam was created and the first thing he experienced wasn’t work, but the Sabbath. Adam experienced rest first, then he fulfilled his work.

The Sabbath was intended to be a proactive measure, not a reactive one. Even today, Jewish families prepare for the upcoming week by ending the Sabbath with a Havdalah service. In part of the Havdalah service, wine is poured into a cup and overflow into a saucer placed beneath the cup. This overflowing cup is a visual reminder symbolizing being filled on the Sabbath to produce for one’s self in the upcoming week and provide an excess that blesses and benefits others.

So how would this change affect you?

3 Ways Your Week Changes When You Sabbath Before You Work

1. Your week changes spiritually.

Starting your week with the Sabbath enhances your relationship with God by reflecting on what He’s already done, and trusting in what He’s going to do next. 1 Corinthians 8:6 says, “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live.”

Celebrating the Sabbath at the start of your week allows you to look back and live ahead, instead of simply wishing something would change. 

2. Your week changes professionally.

When the first focus of your week is your job, you face the frustration and defeat that comes with placing your identity in something other than God.

When you start the week with Him, He reminds you that your identity is not based on your performance, but in your position as His child. This allows you to enter your week and do your work “with all your heart” as Colossians 3:23 says.

3. Your week changes relationally.

God’s desire is for us to live in community and harmony with Him and with others (Luke 10:27). When you start the week in alignment with God, you can expect alignment with others throughout the week. It’s during your time on the Sabbath that God wants to guide you toward being loving, kind, and present in the relationships you have and the ones you’ll develop.

When you start with the Sabbath, the Lord will fill you up with more than enough, just like the cup, to provide for you and extend blessings to others. And maybe, just maybe, we can get rid of those “Monday Blues.”

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