It’s no secret our culture’s tendency to prize wealth and power above all else frequently results in toxic lifestyles and destructive behaviors. We have all seen someone make extreme and immoral choices in their search for success.
But have you ever considered how this consumerist, material-driven culture might be hurting you? More specifically, how it may be weakening you spiritually?
In order to participate in society and make a living, we participate in the physical world. By doing so, we are inevitably drawn into the culture of materialism and consumerism, at least to some degree. The stresses and demands that come along with this participation often pull us away from our religious life and communities. A night to yourself to recharge, or a day spent putting the house back together, will often seem more important and appealing than attending a Bible study or worship service. As this continues week after week, we start to lose sight of what really matters, and forget that the truly valuable things in life, the things that we must seek after the most, are spiritual things that cannot be bought or sold. The solution is simple and as old as creation itself. The solution is the Sabbath.
God gave the Sabbath as a sanctuary from the constant rush and hurry of the week. He desires for us to maintain an active relationship with him and to stay firmly rooted in his ways. Unfortunately, the materialistic design of our culture pulls us in the exact opposite direction. It’s difficult to put your trust in something unseen and intangible when all the world is telling you that security comes in the form of a paycheck and a savings account. And it’s no wonder that we forget that our identity lies in our relationship with our heavenly father, and not with where we land on the income scale or with the title we hold at work. Human achievement and failure is all seen through the lens of materialism, and as a result, it is incredibly difficult to remain connected to the spiritual aspects of life or even to maintain a genuine relationship with God. When you begin to see how heavily non-spiritual in nature our culture is, you also begin to realize the immense importance of having a day set aside to reconnect with the spiritual. When you participate in a day of rest that exists far outside the context of regular life, you are giving your soul time to refresh itself, and time for you to be in the presence of God and further your relationship with him. This brief period of spiritual refreshment allows some time to pause and breathe for a moment before reentering the work week.
Unlike most other things in life, the Sabbath is not a means to an end, or a tool to be used to achieve something greater. The Sabbath is its own reward, and its value is inherent. It is a way for us to step outside the confines of the work-and-gain, sow-and-reap life that rules the other six days of the week. The Sabbath is not a day in which we prepare for tomorrow. Rather, our focus shifts to spiritual things as we dwell in God’s presence. When we slow down for a moment to study God’s word, worship, and come together in prayer, we are attending to our spiritual needs, which are so often neglected during the rest of the week.
When believers gather together for the Sabbath, their bond as a community is strengthened. It is a beautiful thing to be able to partake of the Sabbath with fellow believers, and to lift one another up with blessings and encouragement. The Sabbath is a time to bring our communities together in God’s presence. The Sabbath also serves to pull us out of the self-sustaining perspective that weighs us down all week long. By submitting ourselves to God and doing no work, we are reminded that God is our provider and it is his will that sustains us, not our own.
The Sabbath relieves us from the pressure of a consumerist culture and gives us a break from the stress and strain of daily life. Our communities are drawn closer to God and closer together as we fellowship together each week. Ultimately, the Sabbath readjusts our focus and reminds us that we are to prioritize God’s work over earthly toil and gain.