A friend and I were discussing the Bible the other day, and we got to talking about how to observe the Sabbath. Why did God tell us to set aside one day out of seven? Is it supposed to be a day of rest, or is it supposed to be for worship and other church activities? — H.M.
God told us to set aside one day out of seven for a very good reason: He knew we needed it. If we work all the time, not only will we wear out physically, but we'll also neglect our relationship with God.
This is why one of the Ten Commandments says, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God" (Exodus 20:9-10). (The word "Sabbath," incidentally, comes from an old Hebrew word that means to cease or stop doing something.)
This also is why we observe the Sabbath best when we use it for both rest and worship. Our bodies need rest, and that's why the Old Testament decreed, "Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest" (Exodus 34:21). But our souls also need renewing—and that's why the Sabbath also should be a time for worship and instruction in God's Word. Jesus regularly attended worship on the Sabbath (e.g., Luke 4:14-16).
I'm afraid we're in danger of forgetting this commandment today—but when we do, we pay a price both physically and spiritually. Instead, God loves us, and He wants to bless us by giving us rest and restoring our souls. May this be true every week for you—and every day. When we know Christ, every day is an opportunity to love Him and serve Him more.