Full-on and Full-off

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 
(Genesis 2:1-3)
8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  
(Exodus 20:8-11)
We live in a world where the boundaries between work and relaxation are often blurred. Working from home has its advantages but it can feel as though we’re never ‘full-on’ or ‘full-off’ working. It’s tempting to check our smartphone for work messages or to work late into the evening in order to get ahead for the following day.

That’s why one of the greatest gifts that the Lord gave to the ancient Israelites was the Sabbath day. It was an island of ‘get-to’ in an ocean of ‘have-to’. It was a weekly invitation for God’s people to say ‘enough is enough’ – to draw a line under the week’s work and to down tools in order to worship God.

If one of your friends told you that they were having an adulterous affair, you’d definitely want to have a word with them. If they told you that they were lying and cheating on their tax returns, you’d want to challenge them too. We take the Ten Commandments seriously – but have you noticed that we seem to treat breaking this one as a bit less serious than all the others? Jesus teaches us that we are not bound by Jewish rules about the Sabbath, but he reminds us in Mark 2:27-28 that the Sabbath was made for people everywhere. It is a creational gift of God.  
1)   How are your Sundays different from the other days of the week? How could you make them a day when you are ‘full-off’ and unburdened from the tasks and to-do lists that tend to dominate your other six days?

2)   What do you think God means when he tells us in the Ten Commandments that the Sabbath day is ‘holy’? How do you think is a ‘holy day’ is different from a mere ‘rest day’?

3)   What would it look like for you to treat one day a week as an opportunity to take your eyes of your busy schedule and to focus them on the Lord? What have you learned during lockdown about the importance of finding space in your life for unhurried Christian fellowship, Scripture reading, worship and prayer?
Father God, I confess that the word ‘sabbath’ sounds a bit old-fashioned. But I also confess that it stands at the heart of one of your Ten Commandments. Please help me to know what it means for me to have a day in my week where I am full-off from work and full-on for fellowshipping with you. Help me to enjoy a weekly sabbath with you. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.