Give yourself a break -- observe the Sabbath

Growing up in my rural Catholic family, we always went to church on Sunday and refrained from work. My dad never even harvested wheat, our main source of income, on Sunday when many of the neighbors did. Talk about a witness of faith! I grew up knowing in my bones that Sunday was “different,” a day of rest dedicated to God, family, and leisure.

Once in talking with a group of friends, we got on this topic, and almost everyone said Sunday was like any other day. I was stunned. I just assumed everyone else observed the Lord’s Day like I did. My feeling was, “Oh, what a loss. You don’t know what you are missing.”

I wouldn’t even think of discarding the practice of observing the Sabbath, asI find it so valuable and critical to rest from labor on Sundays. I can lay aside my “to-do” list with nary a twinge of conscience, and enjoy my favorite renewing activities. Besides church and meditation, that usually means taking a nap, reading, exercise, time in nature, visiting with family or friends, and perhaps watching a movie. It would never enter my mind to cut the grass, do laundry, pay bills, go shopping, or do other chores, no matter how busy I am.

I’m a firm believe that God doesn’t want us to work ourselves to death, and rewards our taking time off for balance and leisure in our lives. There will always be work to be done, whether at home, in our job, or in helping those in need. But setting those aside for a day says that we trust God to provide for us and the world’s needs.

When we observe nature, it doesn’t anxiously strive and strain to fulfill its part in the divine web of life, wearing itself out in the struggle. There is an effortless flow and ebb to things, a joyous achievement of its purpose. I think it’s because we humans have gotten so estranged from nature and our true spiritual purpose in life, that we have become a hyper-stressed, unhappy, workaholic species always striving for more of what cannot satisfy.

We refreshed our website! Drop us a line at to tell us what you think. We value your feedback.

My heart goes out to those who, out of economic necessity, have to work on Sundays just to stay afloat. It points out the necessity for all of us to work for systemic change that will ensure a livelihood for all that allows time for leisure.

Jesus went about doing good on the Sabbath, much to the dismay of the legalistic religious leaders of his day. Jesus wasn’t interested in the letter of the law, but in observing the spirit of it. So should it be with us. If we have to work on Sundays, then we can take time off for Sabbath on another day. Only we can decide what is restful and enlivening for us. The bottom line is to take the burden off our shoulders to perform, achieve and be in control, and instead to dedicate time to enhancing our relationship to God, others, nature, and ourselves.

God created and masterfully kept the universe going for billions of years before we came on the scene, so surely things will not fall apart if we rest from our labors one day a week.

If we simplified our lives, in terms of both possessions and activities, we might find it easier to keep the Sabbath.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.