the Gift of the Sabbath

When God created the Sabbath, He intended it to be a day of rest and reflection – a day to commune with Him.  However, for some people, instead of viewing it as a gift, bringing rest and peace in the midst of our hectic lives, it has turned into watching the clock until “sundown” so we can jump right back into our normally scheduled lives.

What example does this set for our young people? When they watch respected adults in their lives throw away the gift of the Sabbath they, in turn, learn to devalue it, as well.

In a recent study (ICM, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, youth were asked if they look forward to the Sabbath with joy.  For nearly three in four young people (73%), the Sabbath is something that they always or very often look forward to.  However, for 5% of young people, the Sabbath is something that they rarely or never look forward to with eager anticipation.

Perhaps when there is a lack of excitement about the Sabbath, it has to do with how young people are spending the Sabbath hours.  The same study showed that the most popular Sabbath activities for young people are: having fun with family or friends, listening to Christian music, engaging in nature activities, watching religious videos/TV, and reading Christian literature.  These activities were endorsed by more than two-thirds of the respondents.

However, one third of respondents indicated that they always or often feel bored on the Sabbath.

What can we do as a church to show our young people that the Sabbath day is truly a gift? Perhaps it’s time to start a group at your church that plays Christian board games or goes on hikes on Sabbath afternoons.  Maybe it means changing up your potluck routine so that it is more appealing to the young people of your church.  Or possibly it looks like creating meaningful ways for your young people to serve the church during the Sabbath hours.

As always, the best place to start is with opening the lines of communication with your young people.  Talk to them, ask them what they would like to see be implemented, and above all, follow through on your promises to them.

God desires to commune with us today, just as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It’s time that we introduce our young people to the peace and comfort that dwelling for a few precious hours in His presence can bring!