What is Sabbath Rest? by Wesley Kouba

What is Sabbath Rest? 
Sabbath rest is a cessation of activity and work for a 24 hour period once a week. It was modeled by God in creation (Gen 1-2) and commanded by God for the people of Israel (Ex 20; 31; Deut 5) to observe. Sabbath rest is a weekly, rhythmic reorientation of our lives around God, who He is, what He has done and what He desires to do in our lives. Jesus emphasizes how the “Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2). Sabbath is such a forgotten and neglected practice amongst God’s people today, that we sense it was time to return to this incredible, God-ordained gift of rest. Here are three realities of Sabbath rest in light of the question, “What is Sabbath rest?”
Resets the body, mind and soul: Sabbath is an invitation and expectation long before it’s a command. God is inviting us into something deeper. On the sabbath no work could be done by God’s people. It allowed for God’s people to rest and reset. Rest for the body. Rest for the mind. Rest for the soul. Rich Villodas writes in "The Deeply Formed Life", page 30, “Sabbath is an invitation to a life that isn’t dominated and distorted by overwork.” God’s ways, plans and design of the world begin with intrinsic cycles of rest. Our lives and livelihoods are dependent upon these rhythms.
We must stop, slow down & rest so that we can enjoy God & worship Him through the life we’ve been given. We rest so that we can reset, recalibrate, think and meditate upon the deeper things of God and the issues that lie beneath the surface of our lives. Sabbath rest resets the body, mind and soul.
Reminds us that we are not God
The core issue in Sabbath rest is faith and trust. Do we believe God is able to care, provide and sustain us even when we stop? Or is it completely dependent upon us? Sabbath rest is a weekly reminder that while you and I do nothing God is still working and in total control. Always and forever. Even while we sit idly, God is on the move. And while He definitely doesn’t need us in any way, shape or form, God constantly invites us to join Him in His divine and eternal work. Part of that work is resting.
We often believe the lie that our worth is tied up in what we do and what we produce. We are not tools of production and productivity. We are not human doings. We are human beings. You are more than what you do. Your worth and value far exceed what you do and the things you produce or possess. Sabbath rest is an invitation from God that reminds us that we are not God. When we lose ourselves in Jesus, we find great rest, hope and joy and in turn find ourselves afresh and anew!
Reorients our lives around the things that matter 
Think about it, when God creates human beings on the 6th day of creation, their very first day is Sabbath rest. Jesus himself said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27). In other words, it’s less about us keeping the Sabbath as it is about seeing the Sabbath as a gift from God to keep us. It’s like a tired child who bucks, kicks and screams that he/she doesn’t want to take a nap. Of course the reason they give is because “they’re NOT tired.”
You will never complete the list of the things that you want to get done. If you’re like me, much of your week in, week out duties get left undone or unfinished. That is okay. I tell my kids all the time that I love them for who they are, not what they do. God does the same towards us. So come to Jesus. Give him your fatigue, exhaustion and tiredness. He promises to give you rest. A full, qualitative, life-giving, joy-infusing rest.
Sabbath rest is ultimately about the Gospel. Learning to rest and lean into who God is and what God has done. Nothing you and I can do can add to our salvation. We can’t earn it or help it in anyway. We receive it, accept it and live in light of it.