How God Refreshes

Pastor Sam Sutter - 7/12/2022



  1. Resisting Work

“On the Sabbath day we deliberately remember that we have ceased trying to be God and instead have put our lives back into his control. Concentrating on God’s Lordship in our lives enables us to return to his sovereign hands all the things that are beyond our control and terrifying us. Once those things are safely there, and as long as we don’t stupidly take them back again, our emotions can find truly comforting and healing rest.” Marva Dawn


  1. Resting and Restoration

Our lack of rest carries serious health consequences. Research shows that “failing to rest after six days of steady work will lead to insomnia or sleepiness, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, irritability, organ stress, and other increasingly serious physical and mental symptoms.”15 But it is not just the physical or mental labor itself. Even turning our attention to matters of work when we are resting has been shown to trigger stress-induced anxiety. Thinking about work can be a form of work. This cycle of exhaustion must be addressed and broken through deep rest. Weariness rarely leads to godliness.


  1. Remembering Our True Identities

Perhaps there is no greater gift that the Sabbath brings us than the reminder and reformation of our true identities. We are terribly susceptible to the distortion of our identities in the modern workplace. We spend so much time there; how can it not shape us? As one business professor has noted, “Assuredly, other factors enter into the equation of self-identity—for example, genetic inheritance, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious training and family background. But even with all of these, work remains an irreducible given, the most common experience of adult life. The lessons we learn at work help formulate who we become and what we value as individuals and as a society. Whatever the conditions of our labor, work shapes us, and unfortunately, often malforms us.”

  1. Reveling in God’s Goodness

The Jewish philosopher Philo, a contemporary of Jesus, described the Sabbath day as “the birthday of the world” and “the festival, not of a single city or country, but of the universe.”21 I love that idea. Viewing the Sabbath as a festival of joy, a feast of God’s favor. Two of the family’s main duties on the Sabbath day, according to the rabbis, were to praise God and to enjoy food and drink in the home. To gather round the table and listen and laugh and enjoy. If we are married, we are called to feast on the gift of sexuality. To explore and remind each other of the gift of physical pleasure and love. We are called to feast on beauty. To fill our hearts with painting and photography and poetry and literature and nature. We are called to feast on friendship. To enjoy the company of friends and family and drink deeply from the well of belonging. We are called to feast on God, to again “taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8).

Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 103 What is God’s will for you in the fourth commandment?*

  1. First, that the gospel ministry and education for it be maintained,1 and that, especially on the festive day of rest, I diligently attend the assembly of God’s people2 to learn what God’s Word teaches,3 to participate in the sacraments,4 to pray to God publicly,5 and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.6

Second, that every day of my life I rest from my evil ways, let the Lord work in me through his Spirit, and so begin in this life the eternal Sabbath.

* “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex 20:8-11)
1 Deut. 6:4-9, 20-251 Cor. 9:13-142 Tim. 2:23:13-17Tit. 1:5
2 Deut. 12:5-12Ps. 40:9-1068:26Acts 2:42-47Heb. 10:23-25
3 Rom. 10:14-171 Cor. 14:31-321 Tim. 4:13
4 1 Cor. 11:23-25
5 Col. 3:161 Tim. 2:1
6 Ps. 50:141 Cor. 16:22 Cor. 8 & 9
7 Isa. 66:23Heb. 4:9-11

* Outline adapted from Tyson, Jon. “Chapter 3.” Beautiful Resistance: The Joy of Conviction in a Culture of Compromise, Crown Publishing Group, The, 2020.

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