Unproductive On Purpose

Read: Mark 2:23-27
Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath” (v.27).

I mowed my father’s lawn at 8:00 a.m. one Sunday morning. I wondered what the neighbors thought, as my father never cut the grass or did any kind of work on Sunday. He felt that the “Lord’s Day” was to be reserved for quiet activities centered on God—much like the Sabbath rest of the Old Testament, which took place on Saturdays. But now he was in the hospital, his grass was high, and I was departing that afternoon. So remembering Jesus’ words that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 niv), I broke the Sabbath principle to help my dad.

While this was the right thing to do in a pinch, “the Sabbath was made for man” reminds me that there is irreplaceable value in observing a day of rest. God didn’t institute the Sabbath principle to test our resolve with an arbitrary rule, but He gave us a day of rest to enable us to slow down and enjoy life. God’s point is that one day in seven we should cease from our work. On this day, we should be unproductive on purpose.

Besides rest, John Calvin said that days of rest also supply an opportunity for spiritual renewal. He compared them to a high tower that we climb to survey the terrain of our lives and remember how good God has been to us. Calvin said that if we take advantage of this opportunity, we will be filled with gratitude the whole week long.

Too often I approach Sundays with a mental list of jobs that need to be done. Usually I put this list aside and, after morning worship, a large dinner, and a long nap, I play and laugh with the people I love. I am always glad that I did.


Are Christians not obligated to honor the Sabbath principle? Or does a day of rest reflect our spiritual rest in Christ? Might it mean both? Why?

Taken from “Our Daily Journey”