The Third Commandment Lesson 5

Sabbath Rest

(Exodus 20:8-11)

Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy works; but on the seventh day is the sabbath of the lord thy god; thou shalt do no work on it, neither thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the lord blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. 

The Reasons for This Commandment

We were created for work, but we were also made to rest. It’s interesting that even secular studies have embraced the idea that we need to take a break and relax regularly.
Physical Transformation:

1. Time out reduces stress.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports in a CDC publication that stress levels at work at higher than ever and that "health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress." Stress creates havoc with our physical and emotional health. "A growing body of evidence shows that "...skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion."

2. Time out gives you a chance to move.

We've all seen the studies on the impact of a lot of sitting time on many aspects of health: "Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer." Sitting extends beyond TV time to include all time at a screen, time at work, in the car, visiting with short, the kinds of things that fill the day for most of us.

3. Completely divesting from your work on a regular basis reduces inflammation and the risk of heart disease.

Most occupations these days are sedentary. Modifiable risk factors for heart disease and general inflammation are uncontrolled diabetes, physical inactivity, overweight or obesity and uncontrolled stress or anger. We already know that work is stressful. In addition, studies show that time sitting, as most of us do at work, influences inflammatory markers even absent elevated blood glucose, obesity or heart disease. Each one hour increase in sitting time associates with an 18% increased cardiovascular disease mortality risk.

4. Getting away from work boosts your immune system.

Chronic stress also depresses your immune system. Conversely adequate sleep and exercise are two of four essentials of boosting your immune system. Take advantage of your weekends for extended R&R.

5. Speaking of sleep, you'll do it better during time out of work.

Time off helps sleep-disrupting habits like checking your cell phone before bed.

6. Your active time off adds years to your life.

Results of studies suggest that a higher amount of daily total sitting time associates with all-cause mortality, particularly among inactive adults.

Mental and Emotional Transformation:

7. Taking regular time away from work restores mental energy.

You probably know that just from your own experience. Science supports your intuition! Studies show "that people who do not know how to detach from work during their off time experience increased exhaustion over the course of one year and are less resilient in the face of stressful work conditions."

8. When you take out time for yourself, you're more creative.

Are you the creative type? You need time out! "Thinking is one of the crucial benefits of stepping back. Just as quality time off fuels energetic resources on the job, reflective time is critical to producing solutions and creative breakthroughs."

9. You're also more productive when you take time out from work.

Data from the OECD shows that working more hours means less productivity. The most productive countries are Germany and France--each mandating more than 30 days of vacation. Workers in the U.S., with no law requiring paid time off, are the third most productive (and only about 25% of Americans take their full allotment of vacation time).

10.You'll focus better at work if you take your weekly rejuvenation time.

A 2008 University of Illinois study shows that all work and no play dramatically reduces focus as well as productivity. Conversely, regular time off work improves it. Be sure you opt for "restorative" breaks.

11. Your day off improve short-term memory.

Do you laugh knowingly at all those jokes about seniors forgetting what they were going to do or where they put their keys? Did you think it was just a sign of aging? Could be that you're just not managing your time out during the week properly. Separate from work, enjoy life, and as many studies show, you will probably remember where those keys are.

12. With regular time away from work, you might even love your job again!

Consultants all tell us that "Finding time to chill and unwind will help you enjoy both work and play more." In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the first recommendation for restoring passion about work is to "call a timeout." It works, according to many testimonies.

A Day of Rest: Scientific Reasons Why it Works.

Rest is a creational principle—it is embedded in the molecules of our DNA.
God gave us permission to take a break once a week by modeling rest for himself.

(Genesis 2:2-3)
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.
And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

(Exodus 20:8-10)
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy works; but on the seventh day is the sabbath of the lord thy God; thou shalt do no work on it.

Take advantage of this special day!

At first, it appears that Jesus was the ultimate Sabbath breaker. The Jewish religious leaders were furious with him for continually healing people on Saturday, which was known to the Jewish people as the “Sabbath” (a sacred or holy day). But if we look closer at the passages where Jesus performed acts of healing on the Sabbath, we’ll notice that, far from being a Sabbath breaker, Jesus was a Sabbath keeper.

The religious leaders in Jesus’ day misunderstood the true purpose of the Sabbath, so they distorted it and added new rules on how to keep it. Jesus exposed the truth: if a man can be circumcised on the Sabbath in order to keep the law of Moses, certainly the healing of a man is acceptable according to the same law.

(John 7:22–23)

Therefore, Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and on the sabbath day you circumcise a man.
If a man receive circumcision on the sabbath day, that the law of Moses may not be broken; are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath day?

There is one significant difference between the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sabbath (or Lord’s Day) that is important to note. The Jewish Sabbath mirrors the creation account in Genesis 1–2, where God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. Interestingly though, the Lord’s Day reverses this pattern entirely.

According to the Law, we are to work first, and then we are granted rest. Jesus reversed this pattern for us when he perfectly obeyed all of the Ten Commandments and kept the law on our behalf.

(Matthew 5:17-18)

Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.
By living the perfect life, Jesus has met God’s perfect standard.

According to the book of Hebrews, Jesus provided rest for us (4:8) and then out of that rest and the gratitude we have toward Him, we actually want to work.
Because of Jesus’ work, we start each week with rest—mirroring that eternal Sabbath rest that is already our inheritance in the new creation.

(Hebrews. 4:9–10)

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Giving thanks to God, we return to our workweek refreshed and thankful for what God has done for us in Christ.

In our next lesson we will show why we as Catholics have Sunday as our Sabbath.