Honoring the Sabbath

*2006 post*

Recently Rebecca asked the following question:

For as long as I have been a mommy but particularly more recently, I have struggled with what to do with myself on the Sabbath. The fact is that as a mommy, my "work" doesn't end on Sunday- I still need to provide meals, clean up children, manage the household, etc. I'd be interested to know how you and your readership spend our day of rest without having to play major catch up on Mondays while honoring the Sabbath in a way that is glorifying to God, as well.

Isn't this a great- and important- question?

I know that I have much to learn in this area. We have come a long way in honoring the Sabbath, but still are not where I'd like us to be as a family, either.

As with any day when daddy is home, I know that my tendancy is to want to take care of all those chores (and errands) that I can do without our children in tow. In time, though, I have learned to be purposeful in not doing these things on Sundays. Similarly, since Mark rarely has a Saturday off, it is tempting to work on house projects on Sundays. But, we refrain.

The other thing we try to do is to make our meals simple on Sundays. For breakfasts, I try to put something together the night before (usually muffins) or when morning comes, we all eat cereal before heading to church. For lunch we pull leftovers out of the fridge or make sandwiches. For dinner, we do something equally simple. And we all pitch in to help get it on the table.

When Mark and I put our children down for naps, I often crawl into bed and take my own nap. Or we curl up on the couch with books and read. Or we sit at the table together and play a board game.

I can't tell you what a blessing it has been for our family to rest on our Sundays.

I can't wait to hear what you readers have to say in response to Rebecca's question. I know our family has much more to learn in this area, and I'm anxious to glean from those of you who are purposeful about keeping the Sabbath.

So. How do you do it? How do you spend your Sabbath day? What things do you avoid? How do you rest when you still have the regular demands of motherhood?

1 comment:

  1. Sep. 21, 2006 - yep...working on this one
    Posted by Michelle
    You know that this is an area that I want to reform for my family. I would love to do good Bible study on the Sabbath....anyone have suggestions???


    Sep. 21, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by jengresak
    I do all the work I need to do, but I take a nice long nap : )


    Sep. 21, 2006 - Great question
    Posted by GenesisFamily
    I have recently been thinking about this topic as well. A few weeks ago, the Lord planted an idea in my head to have a family from church over for lunch. Now I can't do this every Sunday, but we did it last Sunday and it was wonderful. The non napping kids played quietly upstairs and the grown-ups had some great fellowship! We were able to discuss our thoughts and feelings on everything from finances, Christmas, devotions, and future plans... all with a Biblical perspective. The other great thing is that I didn't make some big meal, we just ate leftovers and no one seemed to mind a bit. I think sometimes when we want to have a family over for a meal we feel the need to get an eleborate plan together, but we really don't.
    Anyway, just my thoughts on the subject...
    Have a great weekend!


    Sep. 21, 2006 - Sabbath, the LORD'S day
    Posted by Amy
    We have been so blessed as a family to learn more about how to set apart the first day of the week as the Lord's day. Once I heard a pastor teaching about how this is the day when all other burdens are taken off of our shoulders by the Lord so that we can have time to do the things that we are suppossed to do for/with Him. This is the day when we have time to worship, there is nothing else we should be doing. The day when we can stay after church and fellowship, when we can have brothers and sisters over, can read and rest with our family. Not because it is a day for our family, but it is a day for the Lord. By the Lord. And it is Sunday because that is when He rose again! Allowing us to be a part of His eternal rest as He conquered death.
    In our home, we try to use paper plates etc. so that there are not many dishes. You can find these pretty cheaply if you look and it works for us since it's only one day a week. Not doing dishes is a huge thing for me!
    Also, Mike does almost all of the cooking on Sundays. Now this is particular to us because he enjoys cooking and I hate it.
    We go to church twice on Sunday which really leaves no more time for too many other things. Not only is it a blessing to worship twice, but it takes away the tempation to do yard projects and stuff --there is not enough time.
    I have even tried to be purposeful about explaining to the kids that they don't have to do their chores on the Lord's day. So we start teaching them young.
    Sometimes it means a lot of extra work on Saturdays to prepare. Before you go to bed, you set out Sunday clothes. Or when we have had people over on Sundays, we have a meal we can make ahead of time and make it on Saturday. Six days were made for labor...
    I think it is also good to remember that most things that are good for us are at times a discipline. There have been times that is has driven me crazy to leave the dishes in the sink and instead read a book. But God knows better than I do and this is what He said is best. So I leave them. Or on Saturday, you may rather put off some chores, but having one day void of these things is what is best.
    It is interesting to me that setting apart the Lord's day is a new struggle in our culture. 100 years ago, even 50 years ago it was an understood thing. Businesses were closed, the majority of Christians worshiped and rested. But all of a sudden (historicaly speaking) we don't get it anymore. What has changed? I think it is our drive through, get it now, no time to stop and smell the roses --not to mention very little reverence for the almighty God and His commands-- mentality that have caused us to change. Just a thought.
    If I think of more ideas, I will comment again.
    Also, I know of a good book on the subject, but have to research to find it again. I'll comment when I find it Michelle!
    Counting down to Sunday, Amy


    Sep. 21, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by reformingmama
    Amy, I'm so glad you commented on this. Thank you! :) All great things you shared. You should really start blogging. Again. Here. :)

    Michelle- I was going to say you and Chad and Brock and Erica (and Micah) should do your own study of the Sabbath. Make it a family activity and find all the Scripture references in the Bible that talk about it... Just an idea! :) I'm anxious to see what the book is Amy's going to recommend, too, though. But I'd start with what God says on the matter! :)
    Love you, girl.



    Sep. 21, 2006 - Keeping the Lord's Sabath
    Posted by Mike (Amy's husband)
    It's very easy to define the Sabath by "don'ts" instead of "dos". It's so easy, in fact, that even in this post I will do that.

    But first, I'll just emphasize the blessing of worshiping twice on Sundays that Amy mentioned. It was truely a struggle for us when we first starting going to a reformed church, but we were very gently encouraged to make it a priority. I can see now why we were so encouraged. Like any habit, it can be difficult to cultivate at first, but it is worth it. It's gotten to the point where I can't really imagine only worshiping once on Sunday--like something in my life would be missing. So, "do" worship twice on the Lord's day if you can.

    As far as "don'ts" go, I would return to the original commandment and try to honor the spirit of it as best you can. Keep in mind that it's not just you that is not supposed to work, but your cattle, servants and even your guests. Amy and I try to capture the spirit of this by avoiding any kind of "business" on the Lord's day outside of works of "necessity" and works of "mercy", the latter two types of works mentioned with regard to Jesus' clarification of the sabath-keeping rules. So, allowable works would be calling a tow truck to get someone out of a ditch or even getting gas if it means your family won't make it home from church without it. Now, regarding that last one, I would even suggest it can (and should) be avoided by more careful preparation on Saturday and other work-days.

    What we do not permit on the Lord's Day is stuff like grocery shopping, errand running, and yes, no going out for lunch after Church--even though I used to love that when my theology was more broadly evangelical. Basically, no buying stuff. You go to church, then you go home. Then back to church, then home.

    Lastly, no "gottas". That means, if you think to yourself "I gotta..." then you really should think if the task is a work of necessity or mercy, If not, save it until Monday.


    Sep. 21, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by
    Well said, Mike and Amy! It took us many years to see the beauty of the sabbath of the Lord - Sunday! I considered the "no work" commandment as a limitation. Now, it is a wonderful day of rest, fellowship and, most importantly, worship! I am being sanctified each worship service I go to. This is very important! Then there is fellowship, the time I get to catch up with the people in our church, their funny stories, their burdens, this is a blessing! Then there's the special Lord's Day meal......calories don't count, have what you crave, enjoy 2 desserts if you like, just enjoy! I love those Sunday afternoons when I'm in that state of hazy sleep, not fully awake, just on the verge of sleep.....I don't normally have time for a nap, but on Sunday I do! My favorite time, though, is after the second service, we get home, we have some treat to eat for dinner, it varies every week. We were on french fries or tator tots for a while (We love our tots around here, but shouldn't eat them too frequently!) As a family we hang out in the kitchen, talk, laugh and then wind down our kids and get them ready for bed.

    Mostly I love how the Lord's Day points us to Christ, our eternal rest in Him, in eternity there will be no work, it will be a lot like the Lord's Day, Sunday is a foretaste of what Heaven will be like...only we will worship perfectly, fellowship perfectly. And perhaps enjoy food! In John 21, Jesus eats fish with His disciples. We are hoping that means we will enjoy food with our glorified bodies!

    We know that the next day, Monday, will come, unless it is the glorious day of the Lord's returning. And Monday will bring with it all the labor, problems and sorrow of this world. At least we have Sunday to look forward to. The Lord is so good to His people to give us a day a week to rest.


    Sep. 21, 2006 - An Important Question...
    Posted by Joni
    We are really working on this area too. Just like you, I have to MAKE myself be still on Sundays. I try to take a break from all work like laundry and cleaning chores. I do have to feed our family, but I try to do something simple, like you mentioned, or we have a crockpot meal. I do not answer the phone. The phone is not one of my favorite pieces of technology, so I rest from that on Sunday (unless it's my mom or something). I also try to nap. I like to enjoy nature on Sunday as well. We have a trail behind our house, so often times we'll go for a family walk on the trail in the late afternoon.

    One thing that has helped me be ready for Monday is breaking Sabbath at sundown as is tradition in the Jewish culture. That way, I can still tidy up a bit before cleaning day on Monday.

    One of my favorite book on Sabbath is "Sabbath Keeping" by Lynne Baab. It really shaped my ideas of Sabbath and educated our family. I look forward to reading other's responses.


    Sep. 25, 2006 - That book
    Posted by Amy
    Hey, here is the book I was talking about on keeping the Sabbath.
    "Celebrating the Sabbath, finding rest in a restless world" by Bruce A. Ray. This is the author of a book I recommended in the past "Withold not correction." I think Ray does a good job schooling us modern day Christians on what the Bible has to say and how we should consider thinking about the seventh (or first) day of the week.
    So Stacy, will make sure to pass this on to Michelle? Thanks, Amy


    Sep. 28, 2006 - Sabbath
    Posted by CandidReflections
    Hi Stacy,
    I was glad to see your post on this subject as I have been re-evaluating the topic in our lives as well. In fact, the book I am currently reading (No Ordinary Home by Carol Brazo) devotes a chapter to the subject and the author shares their journey in celebrating the Sabbath. I was inspired / convicted and want to do further study as well. A couple of points from Carol's book:
    Read "Making Sunday Special" by Karen Mains
    The last five pages of Carol's Sabbath chapter outline a "simple Sabbath for you and your family, designed for minimum fuss and maximum time at the feet of Jesus". She shows how to begin preparing on Thursday in order to be prepared to celebrate from sundown on Saturday through sundown on Sunday. She also gives you a 4 week plan to impliment small, easy steps towards restructuring your thinking towards a Sabbath celebration. Thanks for your post Stacy.
    Blessings, Diane (P.S. the book "No Ordinary Home" is out of print...however, I recently picked up a copy through ebay.com)


Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from you, and I will do
my best to reply back to you in the comment section.