Stage of Life
Read this overview
Sabbath looks very different based on your stage of life. A single person with roommates has to practice sabbath very differently from, say, a young family with three kids in diapers, or a couple of empty nesters. Some seasons are harder than others to rest in. (You young families, hang in there!) The key is to creatively engage each stage of life and practice sabbath over a lifetime.
Begin with silence and prayer (5 minutes)
Gather together as a community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Say a quick prayer to invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. Then spend a few minutes in silence. Why silence? Because we live in a busy, noisy world, under a non-stop assault of distraction. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s hard at times to hear the voice of God, and that of our brothers and sisters. As we gather together as a family, we want to hear what the Father is saying to and through each of us, and respond in turn. A great way to do that is to begin each time with silence and prayer.
Debrief last week’s practice in small groups (10–15 minutes)
If you are in a community of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender).
Spend a few minutes catching up on life...
Then talk about 2–3 of the following debrief questions from last week’s practice:
- How did it go?
- How did you practice gratitude?
- In what ways did abstaining from buying or selling free you up to enjoy the sabbath?
- What was one simple pleasure that you really enjoyed?
Open to the Bible together (10 minutes)
Have somebody read Mark 2v27.
Talk about the following questions:
- If some people need to hear “The sabbath was made for man,” (usually 21st century urbanites, but not always) and others need to hear “not man for the sabbath” (usually 1st century Jews, but not always), which one are you?
- After a month of practice, are you starting to see the sabbath as a gift from God to help you thrive? Or does it still feel like a legalistic “rule”?
Talk about the coming week’s practice as a community (10–15 minutes)
Ideas for practice for singles:
- Spend time alone.
- Spend time with friends and family. Get coffee, go out to lunch, take a walk, etc.
- Clear your schedule of work and errands.
- Enjoy this season of life where you have ample time to focus on God’s presence.
- Spend time in spiritual reading.
- Listen to a podcast or teaching on the Bible.
- Practice gratitude for the season you re in rather than focusing on where you might be in the future.
Ideas for practice for married couples:
- Spend time together catching up.
- Don’t fight (there are six other days to do that).
- Avoid hard conversations.
- Don’t talk about things that aren’t restful (i.e., stuff you need to get done in the coming week).
- Talk about your personal and shared discipleship.
- Have sex.
- Give each other space to do what is life giving (opposites often attract, and find very different activities restful. Create space for that). Introvert married to an extrovert? Spend the morning reading in the quiet (introvert time), then go out to an early dinner with friends (extrovert). Or something like that.
Ideas for practice for young families:
- Spend time together as a family in celebration of life.
- Have one parent watch the kids for a few hours, while the other goes off to rest or do something life-giving, then swap (i.e., one parent takes a two hour block in the morning, another in the afternoon).
- Take breaks to do the daily office.
- Take your kids to the park or on a fun, restful outing.
- Make your kids nap or have quiet time, even as they get older.
- Have your kids light the candles of sabbath, and ask them what they symbolize (The two commands from the Ten Commandments: remember and observe the sabbath).
- Have your kids drink grape juice when you pour the wine.
- Do highlight of the week with your kids.
- Go to bed early.
- Have a special breakfast set out for the kids to eat first thing, so the parents can sleep in and relax. · Have a special box of toys that your kids just get to play with on the sabbath.
- Keep those video games off!
- Recognize it’s hard to rest with little kids, but this is a season. Do your best. It will pass all too soon.
Ideas for practice for older families or empty nesters:
- Spend time together as a family or couple in celebration of life. · Share a meal together.
- Do highlight of the week.
- Have a time of prayer and Bible reading as a family.
- Go on a fun, but restful outing to a park, coffeeshop, or restaurant.
- Take naps.
- Each family member practice the daily office.
Discussion questions for the coming week (10–15 minutes)
- What are the challenges of sabbath at your stage of life?
- What are the upsides of sabbath at your stage of life?
- What creative ideas do you have for others in your stage of life to sabbath well?