Why We Need to Reclaim a Weekly Rest Day

Rest one day a week used to be what everyone did!

When I was a little girl, Sundays were magical. My brother and I would see who could be first to get the paper that had been thrown into the yard. Our funny paper was something we apparently were able to do together without fighting! it was the beginning of a weekly day of rest.

1958. My brother and I looked forward to the Sunday morning funny paper.

Everything was closed

Later, we would go to church and everything, everywhere, was closed. The sense of “quiet” was enchanting to me. As I looked out of the car windows, there seemed to be one purpose that day-church. I could see other churches with parking lots filling up, people streaming into the doors, greeting one another. In the deep south where we lived, ladies wore dresses and sometimes hats to match. Men wore suits, no matter how hot the summer was.

Safe Sunday

After church was Sunday dinner that had been placed in an oven to bake or slow cook while we were away. (There was no such thing as a crockpot back then.) Then, we would enjoy a long lazy afternoon. Yes, it was boring. But the stability that came with it is etched in my mind. Sunday was safe. Sunday was peaceful. 

The big scandal

What a scandal it was when the first store decided to be open on Sundays. Oh, it was ok for the 7-11 to be open those crazy hours, every day! But not a department store. Not a grocery store.

But people we admired worked on Sunday!

I didn’t know to reason that athletes and pastors didn’t take Sundays off. If I would have had the reasoning, I would have asked my Dad, if working on Sunday is wrong, then why do you spend Sunday afternoon watching sports?

It wasn’t long before most stores were open and customers obliged them. It seems to be a profitable decision.

Are there consequences for not resting one day a week?

Later, when I was a pre-teen and in my early teens, my dad’s business got busy. He decided he could work on Sundays. So he worked seven days a week for a few years. One day, my mom woke up to hear him crying in the bathroom. Kidney stones. She took him to the hospital and the hospital gave him something that later made him return to the hospital because he was vomiting blood. 

He made a radical change with that crisis and decided he would no longer work on Sundays. He would tell you for the rest of his life that it was God that brought him to his knees for not honoring a Sabbath. 

The reason why he got kidney stones can be rationalized. It’s easy to do when you know something was God’s way of getting your attention. My dad believed it and he listened. 

Will you get a terrible malady for not observing a Sabbath?

I don’t know. I really don’t. What I do know is that taking one rest day a week is God’s design for us. I wholeheartedly believe this promise: 

“If you keep from desecrating the Sabbath, from doing whatever you want on my holy day; if you call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, seeking your own pleasure, or talking business; then you will delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride over the heights of the land, and let you enjoy the heritage of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.  – Isa 58:13,14 CSB

The Sabbath was part of God’s plan.

By resting from creation, God intended for his world to also have a day of rest, renewal, reflection, and honoring God.

To consider how to stop being so busy and start routines like this, you will enjoy the post: click here: How to Stop Being So Busy.


If you will get in the habit of resting one day a week, you will look forward to your weekly “downtime”. It will take discipline and planning, but even that will become a regular part of your routine. I plan meals ahead so I don’t cook that day. Cleaning or yard work can be scheduled for a different day. Sports events, well, (take a deep breath), reread Isaiah 58:13, 14. If Sunday is your day of rest, then you decide-I’ll leave that with you and the Lord. 

For more study about whether or not to keep a Sabbath, click here

The Saturday or Sunday debate

I fully respect the viewpoints of when the Sabbath day is to be taken. I understand the Messianic and Jewish day beginning at sundown on Friday and ending at sundown on Saturday. I also greatly respect the reasons why Sunday is the most popular day for most Christians for Sabbath. 

The purpose here is not to debate the correct day, (and it will not be approved in any comments) but I am advocating that we take a weekly day of rest.

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Does it have to be only Saturday or Sunday?

I have the opinion that it’s ok to have to take a different day than the Jewish or Christian traditional rest day. I will share with you that I worked retail for several years and had to work on Sundays very often. My work was gracious enough to allow me to come in later in the day, giving me time to go to church in the morning. What I did, consistently, was to take a whole day on another day of the week and do no work that day. It was a day for me and the Lord, accepting rest from Him. 

Is it possible for young families to take a Sabbath Day?

I remember the 25-minute drive home from church when our own children were young. Dinner would be waiting, having cooked in the oven or large crockpot while we were gone. We would do everything we could to keep the children awake on the drive home. We knew if they fell asleep, there would be no nap for the rest of the day! It was not unusual to jostle the toddler and talk to them. It was definitely worth it. As a young mother with a bunch of kids, Sunday naps were something I looked forward to and if a toddler was awake, no nap for mama! 

You can set one day aside for your whole family to rest.

Go to church and fellowship with other Christians. Then rest that afternoon. Naps following a big dinner are good! If you really don’t like to nap, simply refrain from normal, every-day stimulating things like computers, electronic games, etc. 

This may be a challenge if a Sabbath rest is new to your family.

We always did rest on Sunday, so we didn’t have the challenge of having to begin after the kids had a different expectation of Sunday routines. My biggest suggestion on how to be successful is to plan ahead. Involve your whole family. It can be done. Starting a new habit can be a challenge but success is sweet. Make it a family habit, involve your children, make it special for them too. Go to your favorite place of refuge in your home and talk, enjoy each other’s company, play a board game, read, work on a puzzle. 

Recruit your children to come up with an alternate “downtime”.

Here is a great article with lots of suggestions on how to involve your children in being a part of sabbath day of rest.  Click here.

You can make your family Sabbath magical too.

Most importantly,

Remember God and what He has done.


A photo of the author, Deborah Schreffler

Debbie Schreffler

Veteran Homeschooler, avid gardener, and proud grandma

I believe that you can design a peaceful lifestyle while you homeschool, complete with a garden if you want, and meals that will make the best memories you ever could imagine!

I homeschooled seven kids through high school, starting them all with a lot of planned, hands-on activities. Then, I centered the subjects around the activities. That gave them lots of room for their natural curiosity to be satisfied as they learned about God’s world.

Let me help you teach kids, grow food, and stay calm!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.Mat 6:33 CSB


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