I recently experienced a truly restful Sunday.
I attended Sunday school and church, ate at a favorite restaurant with my family, literally rested (aka napped), read old issues of a Christian magazine, and played tennis outside. My day felt balanced, relaxing, and restful. Sure, I watched TV, checked my email, and did other typical daily activities. But, for the most part, I felt like I was able to take a break.
Unfortunately, most Sundays are not as restful as this Sunday is. But isn’t this how Sundays are supposed to feel?
The Disappearance of Restful Sundays
At some point in history, Sundays became less about rest and more about work. Stress became a common feeling on this special day, thus making it not-so-special. After all, Monday through Saturday is stressful, right? Doesn’t that mean Sundays shouldn’t be?
Stress will most definitely become part of your Sunday if work-related activities are allowed to creep in. Perhaps the focus of your Sundays is attending sports games, obsessing about your to-do list, or clocking in to work. Maybe Sunday seems like the perfect day to catch up on homework, do unfinished chores, or get ahead on future assignments.
However, God didn’t intend for us to use Sunday as another workday.
“Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death” (Exodus 31:15).
According to this verse, the Sabbath day is holy. While the Sabbath was originally a Saturday, most Christians today consider Sunday to be a Sabbath or sorts—except it often isn’t. It’s a day God designed for us, because He knows we need rest. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) It shouldn’t be tainted by work and to-lists and assignments. Also, it was designed to be a day of “solemn rest,” not frivolous rest or flippant rest. There is and should be purpose in our rest!There is and should be purpose in our rest. Click To Tweet
The Pharisees of Jesus’ time completely distorted the Sabbath. Instead of embracing the rest God was allowing, they filled it with rules and rituals. Instead of restful, it was exhausting. That’s not what God wants our Sundays to look like. Not filled with legalistic requirements, but rather a soul-refreshing rest.
Even though it may be hard to accept, it’s okay to not work on Sundays. In fact, it’s a command from God and a gift from God. Taking a day to rest doesn’t mean you’re lazy or idle because rest can be as intentional as work is. Rest can mean taking a nap, enjoying the outdoors, opening up your Bible, spending time with your family, writing in a prayer journal, or countless other things! Intentional rest requires us to set aside time to not work.