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What is Sabbath?

Sabbath, God's gift to us, is a time set apart to rest from work, worship God, tend to our soul, and bless others.

Sabbath: The Gift of Restoration and Realignment

by Chris Schoon, Director of Thrive-US

“How can I practice sabbath when church activities make Sunday so busy?”

“I’m a young mom with three kids under age 8, working a part-time job on weekends; when do I actually get a day off to keep sabbath?” 

“We’ll be at church when we can, but we have to be at our kids’ games. They need every opportunity they can get if they’re going to be able to pay for school.” 

“Why does sabbath really matter? I already enjoy my weekends, and the fun stuff I do helps me relax.”

Sabbath so often comes across as complicated, unrealistic, inconvenient, or counterproductive. 

Most of the time, sabbath seems like it’s only really accessible to the superspiritual and to those with more time and fewer financial worries than we tend to have. Sure, somewhere in the nagging corners of our hearts, we know we’re supposed to “keep the sabbath day holy,” but we’ve really got no clue where to even begin. 

But here’s the good news: sabbath isn’t a list of “do’s and don’ts.” It’s not a burden. It’s not another commitment we have to fit into our schedules. Sabbath is a beautiful, life-giving gift from the God who loves us.

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How Can I Practice Sabbath?

Ideas and resources for exploring sabbath:

Helpful Resources on Sabbath

Here are some Scripture passages on sabbath and a resource list of good things to read, watch, and listen to. 

Points to Ponder

Explore these questions in personal reflection, at home, or in small groups:

  • What does it mean to me to “keep the sabbath holy”?
  • How might my sabbath practice help me grow to be more like Jesus?
  • What might a life-giving sabbath look like for me?
  • How could my sabbath practices be life-giving for my neighbors also?


“A life built upon Sabbath is contented because in rhythms of rest we discover our time is full of the holiness of God.”

― Shelly Miller, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World (Bethany House, 2016)  Tweet this quote

Explore Other Faith Practices

The Faith Practices Project explores twelve Christian practices or spiritual disciplines: sabbath, gratitude, generosity, hospitality, engaging Scripture, justice and mercy, listening, celebration, prayer, wonder, remembering, and service.