Sabbath, Part One: A Taste of the Kingdom

This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender is joined by his wife, Becky Allender, to reflect on the nature of Sabbath. Last week, Dan talked about looking toward the new year and allowing a season of rest, taking a break from major projects to allow for restoration that will foster future productivity and creativity. Dan admits that, though he has written a book about it, this intentionality in rest is still an inconsistent and challenging practice for him.

Becky: “I am so much more aware of how we need to Sabbath together, and how it needs to be a part of every day.”

Dan: “We’ve got to reconsider, as we begin this new year, how we will bring Sabbath into play in our lives. […] And it isn’t primarily just stopping doing work, it’s actually attending to things that bring your body, your heart, and your mind goodness, glory, and delight.”

Sabbath is attending to things that bring goodness, glory, and delight.

Becky shares how she is learning to weave Sabbath practices into every day, and how important it is to prepare her heart for it. Dan talks about how Sabbath is “a context for delight” that invites us to participate in something compelling, beautiful, and life-giving—in other words, it is a taste of the coming kingdom of God.

Dan: “Sabbath is in many ways a preparation for the return of Jesus, when all things will be restored. It gives you a glimpse of what it will be to one day be in the presence of Jesus.”

It makes sense, then, that there will be complications and impediments to our ability to step into times of true Sabbath. Often it feels easier to keep ourselves busy and distracted, afraid of what we will hear if we allow ourselves to slow down and listen.

Dan: “As much as I want to underline that Sabbath is a gift from God, it also feels very significantly disruptive and requires a deep commitment to discipline. […] To let yourself be non-productive, to let yourself go fallow, requires that you trust that, as mythic a phrase as this is, the tortoise actually wins, the hare ends up being distracted and exhausted. I love that story, I just don’t believe it.”

Sabbath is also an opportunity to mark the passage of time, celebrate milestones, and observe how God continues to change and grow us. So next week, Dan and Becky will continue this conversation by using Sabbath as a frame for reflecting on the 40th anniversary of their marriage. You won’t want to miss it.