Today’s Truth

Then He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NIV).


Friend to Friend

We have just come through an intense season of life. You know those times:

Things at work are going crazy.

There are a million projects that need to be done immediately at home.

The family is going through its own drama.

And let’s throw in a crisis, you know, just for fun.

These are the times in my life when I start looking forward to the dentist filling a cavity so that I can sit still for a few minutes and not have to mark anything off a list.

But maybe extensive dental work is not my best plan for rest?

We have had to make the practice of rest a priority in our calendars.

Daily  A little break after dinner to just rest and connect. Plus, a decent bedtime to get the sleep we need.

Monthly Taking a weekend with no obligations, and no outside responsibilities—a time when we can walk around the lake or cozy up at home and not feel guilty for watching a movie.

Yearly In June, we look at next year’s calendar and block off our vacations, both for travel and staying at home.

But I will admit, the part that has been the hardest is to take a regular weekly sabbath.

Maybe it has been a mental block, or maybe it’s been this need to always be productive in order to feel valued. But taking Sunday off just never seemed like an option. There was always too much to get done. And a lot of the times, that “too much to get done” was stuff for the church.

However, burning out emotionally tends to force a body to reevaluate priorities. And if you don’t rest, burnout is one of your most likely outcomes.

But beyond that, I had always looked at the “keeping of the Sabbath” as a command I needed to follow. Something that I would be judged by God and other Christians if I didn’t strictly keep.

But Mark 2:27 says, “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’”

A day off. A gift. God sees something the world does not want for us, rest and restoration, as not only beneficial, but necessary. Something to be reserved as a blessing to be cherished, not a rule to be followed.

As a family, we have changed our approach to taking the day off.

  1. We reject any notion of rigidity. We celebrate the Sabbath from Saturday sundown through Sunday sundown. That is what works for our family. For others, it might look differently. We know nurses who work all day Sunday (and aren’t we thankful for that) who have to change their “day of rest.”
  2. We make the day special. Like any other holy day, we plan ahead to set the time aside. I shop, cook, clean, and work in advance to get everything I can done so that we really, truly take that time off.
  3. We plan something special. Besides worshiping God, our day is open. Sometimes we take a drive in the mountains, invite friends over to eat, hunker down to watch a movie, or stay up late to watch the stars and eat some s’mores.

These mindset and behavior changes can be especially hard to make if you grew up in a more legalistic lifestyle. But to constantly remember that the Sabbath is a gift that God gives His beloved children turns our obligation into a celebration.


Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I have let myself be fooled into believing that our relationship is filled with only one-sided obligations. Help me keep discovering the freedom found only in You. Help me learn to love not only Your laws, but recognize the good gifts that You give to me, Your child.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

What is one practice that you incorporate into your Sabbath to set it aside and make it special? Click on the comment button and share your Sabbath practices with us.


 More from the Girlfriends

Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory have been there. They want to encourage you, but even more importantly, they offer helpful solutions to make your everyday life easier.



 An Abundant Place provides good advice on how to plan ahead, set boundaries with others and yourself, and be more intentional about self-care without the guilt.

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7 Responses to “Obligation or Celebration”

  1. Joyce says:

    This was a very good read and especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays approaching. I know that you said that you and your family have decided to use Saturday as the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, however,vrhat is the EXACT time frame that God had already commissioned fir us to use. Following history Sunday was exchanged for the Sabbath out of compromise and convenience. It has ALWAYS been instituted as the 7th day of rest. My family loves the Sabbath and look forward to it. We also do things for others who could use a hand….correct,, there are occupations that do require someone 24/7 and those individuals should be able to observe the Sabbath when they can but they can’t just pick and choose a day and call it the Sabbath. My family has many medical and civil professionals that are committed to service but do not forget to honor Hod and rest. Thank you GIG for all you do in spreading his love and spirit to a dying world.

  2. Carol says:

    Thank you, Kathi for this special reminder of Sabbath.
    My pastor gave a sermon on the real purpose of Sabbath, and I got a real eye opener.
    For years I used the day for catch-up chores after services, and realized I was just making myself more tired come Monday am.
    God knew, we would need rest. But as human as we are, there is always that side of our reasoning to justify our actions.
    Now, I try to make all those activities over with by Sunday. Believe me, my Sundays are more relaxed and easy going.
    Thank you again, for your blessed message from Mark 2:27

  3. Eva says:

    Beautiful devotion.God loves us so abundantly that He even set aside a day for rest. As a family we keep our Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
    “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest” Exodus 34:21.His commamdments never change for He is also the Lord of the Sabbath.I am a Nurse and God has helped to always get off on Sabbaths. For I believe there is nothing impossible for my Father.My only prayer is That Lord help us to cheerfully keep the sabbath in the midst of plenty to-do’s.

  4. Allison says:

    Thank you Kathi! We started out small. Our celebration of the Sabbath begins by just turning off our iPhone, iPad, and desktop computer Saturday evening. We are only available by a landline to our family. I own my own business so being closed on Sunday is a choice I make for my sanity; it wasn’t always this way. We rest, eat, read devotionals and study the passages more intensely mentioned in the devotional, then we talk about what it means in our daily life. What a refreshing break God designed for us to focus more on him to fill our well! Thank you for your timely message. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

  5. Marg says:

    When I was growing up we didn’t have stores open on Sunday so shopping didn’t happen and we had to entertain ourselves, which worked. By the way, yes I am “old”.
    Then we grew up and stores stayed open, restaurants were open and life changed in the direction of it’s o.k. to shop or go to restaurants as we worked all week and life is busy.
    As a couple we were involved at church and had children and wanted to show them Sunday wasn’t the day to do everything you could do during the week. Life started to slow down on Sunday.
    Fast forward the years and we are empty nesters and living abroad, we worked six days a week, so our Sabbath, which was Sunday, became very important. My husband and I jokingly called it our “do nothing” day. I prepared meals so that on our Sabbath we just needed to plate and warm up the food in the microwave. We didn’t do dishes, no dishwasher, but we chose to do nothing but worship the Lord on our Sabbath.
    Our Sabbath has become a very important part of our lives and our focus on the Lord has increased throughout the week as well. I look forward to our Sabbath and “do nothing” day. My husband and I always ask the question “can it wait until tomorrow?” and if the answer is yes, we do nothing.
    Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  6. Liz says:

    Thank You for the devotional. Sabbath rest is something dear to my heart and I wish more people would see God’s love in this command and the value of incorporating it into our lives. When I do not take a sabbath rest, it is an indication for me that my life is unbalanced. I am thankful for God’s grace in that regard. Thank you again for the devotional. I hope many read it and will be inspired to incorporate this day of rest into their week.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for this important reminder to rest. I’m realizing that for us, this rest needs to include a break from devices as well ~ to connect to each other. As I was growing up, my parents were very busy. I remember many times, needing to talk with them and going to find them, too busy ~ I didn’t want to disrupt them by asking them to sit and talk. I’m sure they would have, but my childhood self didn’t want interrupted time, I wanted peaceful time. I always knew my father would be sitting down, peaceful on Sundays watching football, and that’s when I would go and sit next to him and talk ~ about football and whatever else came up ~ very special memories. It’s important to show our loved ones how to find us if they need us. Thank you so much for this reminder

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8