3 Forgotten Benefits of Sabbath Rest

Evan Forester —  January 18, 2016 — Leave a comment

If you want to #LiveFully, then rest must be part of your routine. American culture does not celebrate rest. If anything, we often shun it. But the Bible commands that we rest, and the reasons are largely for our benefit. Below, you’ll find 3 important benefits for taking a complete day to rest.


Once again, I’m borrowing content from a Tim Keller sermon. If you’d like to learn more about rest, I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Rest allows us to enjoy the work we’ve done

Genesis 2:1-3 says the following, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

God does not grow tired. He did not need a break. So why did He rest?

Firstly, He wanted to set a precedent for us. But also, I believe he wanted to take the time to enjoy the work he had done. After all, He just created the world! And in the text we see that He observed his creation and appreciated that it was “very good.”

We often move so fast in life that we never stop and reflect on what we’ve done. This can make our work feel meaningless and drain our lives of purpose. Instead, we should follow God’s example and actually rest, once per week, to think about and appreciate the things we’ve accomplished and learned.

Rest revives us and enables better work

More and more studies are demonstrating that humans without rest are actually less productive than those who rest well. A recent study from Stanford states, “employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours.”

Joel Gascoigne did an experiment where he worked 7 days per week, with specific periods of rest scattered through each day. The experiment failed, and his reasoning is important: “I feel like the 7-day work week failed because of lack of an extended period of renewal.”

The truth is, we need rest. It recharges our brains and our bodies so that we can focus and achieve more. We should find a little time to rest everyday, but our body and soul actually needs an extended period of rest where it can truly recharge.

Rest reminds us of who we are

The most difficult thing about rest is the voice in our heads that says, “you still have so much to do. If you don’t get it done, you could lose your job or appear like a failure or disappoint someone.”

Effective rest ignores this nagging voice, and replaces it with the truth of the Gospel. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Sabbath rest is an opportunity to remind ourselves of God’s truth. As we take the time to seek him out, through church and prayer and the Word, He speaks to our hearts and reminds us that we belong to Him. We are loved, we are valued, and nothing we can do will make Him love us more or less.

When we rest in that, we are able to return to work and focus on glorifying Him, instead of glorifying ourselves. We don’t have to worry about becoming a failure or disappointment, because we’ll know the Creator of the universe thinks we’re worth dying for!

Next week, we will explore what it actually means to rest.

Your turn: what benefits have you found in Sabbath rest?

Evan Forester

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This post was by Evan, an adventure enthusiast learning to #LiveFully in New Zealand. He now writes for Embracing Exile.