Tag Archives: resistance

Baggage about the Sabbath

As I continue to work on The Sabbath Year, I’ve been collecting a list of objections people have to the idea or practice of Sabbath. These are things I’ve heard personally, statements I’ve read in other books on Sabbath, or things I’ve even told myself as our family engages and resists this strange weekly rhythm we have chosen to adopt. I hope to address some or all of these in the book in some form or another.

Do any of these statements resonate with you?

What would you add to this list?


Sabbath is so legalistic.

It’s not relevant for our time. Sabbath is a relic of a bygone era.

I don’t have time.

I’m fine. I’m happy. I don’t need to do that.

We observed the Sabbath when I was a kid. It was SO boring. I swore I’d never do that again.

I’d rather not spend a day doing faith-based activities, quietly reading the Bible, etc.

My kids would never agree to it.

My teenagers would never agree to it.

We’re not Jewish and we shouldn’t co-opt their practice.

I already make time to rest from my work and don’t need a fancy title for it.

People who have time to take Sabbath rest obviously don’t have enough to do.

The problems in the world go on—there is too much to be done already, how can you sit around and “be spiritual” while there is suffering happening that you could be a part of the solution for?

You can rest when you’re dead. Life is too short.

The seven-day week is a false construct. Rest when you need to, not when the calendar tells you to.

Technology means you can work when you want and rest when you want—taking a whole day is a false construct. Be more fluid and intuitive about when you need to work and rest.

It shows a lack of sensitivity to the needs of others—face it, sometimes people need you on that day. The vast majority of the world doesn’t observe Sabbath—they’re just going to see you as selfish if you’re not available.

Sabbath is a practice of privilege—other people have to work at those times—how can you enjoy that time of rest when other people don’t have that luxury?

Sabbath just creates more work. I spend the day before getting ready for it and the day after cleaning up from it.

Of course you can do this, your kids are young. They aren’t in that many activities yet.

Your kids will miss out on opportunities to play sports, do drama/speech team, marching band, etc. They won’t get into college because you’ve had to say no to these extracurricular activities.

That’s what vacation is for.

That’s what retirement is for.

Kids are constant work, so you might as well embrace it. Life with kids is work no matter what you do.

My kids are very active and energetic. They’d be in all kinds of mischief if we all just sat around all day.

“We Tried That Before and It Didn’t Work.”

As many of us know, this is the traditional bugaboo of many churches and organizations in general. Someone offers a suggestion, an idea about change, and folks jump in with the reasons why it won’t work, because it didn’t work last time.

I am fortunate that “we tried that before and it didn’t work” isn’t a common sentiment at Tiny Church. It’s definitely there from time to time, but I’m excited to have a session and a transformation/discernment team that’s genuinely excited about asking “what if?” questions.

But when “we tried that” comes up, here’s what I say, or what I’d like to say in my better moments:

Actually, we didn’t try it before. We are a different group of people now than we were then. Some folks who were with us are no longer here. Some folks who are here now weren’t then. And even those who were around have done a lot of livin’ in the meantime. They aren’t the same people anymore. So let’s figure out what our five-years-ago selves have to teach us… but let’s also ask our five-years-ago selves to bless us as we seek to be faithful now.

How do you handle “we tried that and it didn’t work”?