Daily Devotional

Sabbath Made for Man

I told Lynn I was going to go for a walk, which was only part of the truth. It was a Sunday. We had taken a trip to So Cal to visit Lynn’s relatives. It was our first trip overnight together. We stayed with her family.

What she did not know (and will only learn when she reads this) was I went out walking to look for a church. I could have driven. I could have looked where a church was which I wanted. But doing those things would have given me away! I was hoping to just stumble on a church during my walk. Why? Because I feared God. We were all taught that to miss Mass was a mortal sin. If you died without confessing that to a priest, you would drop straight into hell. And there you would be forever, suffering in agony!

Lynn and I were engaged, or almost engaged, I think. She did attend church with me. But I was ashamed to be hyper about this before her. She was not that way. None of her relatives attended church. So I walked and hoped. Never did find a church. Drove back home to Fresno very carefully!

Is this the kind of thing God meant when He established the Sabbath? Many still think so. Many others approach the Sabbath carelessly, a kind of optional thing we should observe most of the time as Christians, if we can or feel like it.

But what is the truth? Jesus spoke these clarifying words. The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27, NASB). What does that mean? It is powerful and supreme expression of a very important truth. If man was made for the Sabbath, it means that up in the heavenly realm, there is a demand that humans must get to church on earth on the Sabbath, to fulfill some kind of law or need there.  Man was made to take care of it. So, we are supposed to do it to meet some kind of heavenly quota.

But Jesus said that man was not made for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for him! How? It was made to help him have a more happy, healthy and fulfilled life! There are essentially two parts which are going to contribute to this, two Sabbath purposes. They have to do with our created needs as humans.

One, people need to stop once every seven days and give focused attention to the Lord. To worship, to pray, to celebrate, to be taught or hear preaching. There is a spiritual renewal needed in our hearts that cannot be accomplished on the run, or with a quick prayer and a five-minute devotional.

Two, people need to stop and rest. Really rest. Not work, physically. Not “work” emotionally. To sit. To lay down. To relax. To let your body be restored. It is for animals, for your car, for your kids and your business. It is a need, if one wants to be healthy.

In another context, if your boss said that he was going to pay you to take a day to do nothing so you could be healthy, it would be seen as great news! We have been directed like that by our God, with wonderful instruction—take a day each week and sing. Rejoice. Be glad. Talk to other believers. Get a fresh spiritual perspective on the world and your life. Take half that day to just do nothing. Rest. Read. Sleep. Eat. Drink. Be unstressed, without cares, without fears.

If we want good physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual health, we will take Sabbaths. Make it a delight and call it holy, as God instructs, not an interruption (Isaiah 58). If you have questions about all this, go to Jesus. He declared Himself the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28).

Don’t do what I did in So Cal behind Lynn’s back. Do it openly and happily. And let your life have the additional benefit of declaring Whom you serve, by taking a day to honor and obey Him before the world around you.
For further investment:
  • Read Isaiah 58:13–14, Micah 4:1–5, 2 Chronicles 30
  • Read, sing, play, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”, by John Newton
New American Standard Bible (NASB)Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation