Here at the Wallet, we believe that the same stuff is required to build generational wealth as a godly home: diligence, faithfulness, obedience, boldness, strategy, encouragement… all of it in (hopefully) increasing doses. What we get at a lot around here is creating a CULTURE in your home–one that would support and undergird those traits. For instance:
- Is there a CULTURE of obedience in your home? When a child disobeys, do the others’ eyes get wide? “OH CHARLEY WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?!?” Is the cultural expectation of your home that every child will unerringly obey all adults?
- Is there a CULTURE of worship and prayer in your home? Does it feel like an Event when mom or dad gathers everybody together for prayer, or a song of worship is ordered up? Or does it feel normal, and everybody jumps in because of muscle memory?
- Is there a CULTURE of giving in your home? Is everybody normally looking for great places to give money, or does the very idea of giving money away lead to hand-wringing and second-guessing?
- Is there a CULTURE of following vision in your home? Does everyone feel constrained by the common vision, values, and vocabulary you and the missus have outlined, or does everybody just “do what’s right in their own eyes”? Does everybody know specifically what your family is about, to the exclusion of other (good) things?
You get the idea. Culture creation in the home is your job–and it could be argued that culture creation is the ultimate job of the Church. (I mean, otherwise what are you asking for with “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven…”?) Culture creation matters. And you and I could be asking on a daily basis, “What are the simplest tools that will create maximum cultural impact in my home?” Indeed you already do this: you say “I love you” at the end of phone conversations or before someone leaves town; you pray together before meals; you have bedtime rituals for connection. You do value tools that create culture, even if you haven’t thought of it like this.
Well I’m here to tell you bros that NOTHING–not a daily prayer time, not memorizing Bible verses before bed, not even (fire up the grill for this sacred cow) GOING TO CHURCH–will do for your family, from a culture-creation standpoint, what this one move will do:
Honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
Putting one day a week aside, designating it HOLY (set apart, only for God), and leading your family into full-bore, unapologetic, all-in, ever-loving, compound REST is best thing you can do to create a culture of obedience, peace, interaction, and godliness. (BTW you’re NOT GOOD at rest, and without it you’re sunk.)
…in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works. And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest. Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience, Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts… So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors [f]peculiarly His own. Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].
Hebrews 4:4-11 (Amplified)
You catch that? Let me pull out some observations:
- The promise (and, by extension, the negative consequences) remains. Remember, this is the book of Hebrews we’re talking about. This is late in the scriptural game; this isn’t the books of Moses. This is post-resurrection, post-church formation, post-covenant of grace. But the day of rest remains.
- There’s a word for those who fail to enter this rest, and that word isn’t “busy”. It’s not “high output” or “performer” or “driven”, and it’s certainly not “leader”. The word is “disobedient”. So, if you’ll allow me to tighten the screws a bit: failure to honor the Sabbath rest of God is sin. Not oversight. It’s disobedience (and later called “unbelief”).
- The options presented are: 1. Honor the Sabbath, or 2. Harden your heart. Ouch.
- The Sabbath is a way that the “true people of God” show themselves. There’s a match between “true people of God” and “Sabbath observance”. They go together.
- Hey here’s something good! If you enter into God’s Sabbath rest, you stop from the grinding, never-ending hamster wheel of human labor! Hey that’s an insight there!
- Entering into this rest requires, ironically, EFFORT. Zeal, exertion, and striving, even! So strive to stop striving. That makes almost no sense on the face of it, but there it is.
- You might can hear his voice TODAY and turn things around! It’s never too late! Start obeying pronto! Maybe even right now!
- Little history button at the end of this passage: the same kind of disobedience and unbelief we’re talking about is what killed the Israelites in the desert. Okay then. Let’s just say, “this topic is real important to God and to His followers.”
Now look, I’m not going to pile on you any more than this heavy passage already did. I’m just going to go with “observing the Sabbath is real important, Biblically.” That good for now? I’m not even going to make reference to the passage that says you’re to be killed for not observing the Sabbath. I’m not going there. I’m keeping this light and happy, see?
What I WILL do is make this point: in the list of the Ten Commandments, the keeping of the Sabbath is the commandment that has the most description and explanation attached to it. “Thou shalt not kill” gets those four words y no mas. Even having no idols gets only eight words. The Sabbath command merits a whopping 94 words, spanning four verses (8-11) unto itself. Shazam! (To reference a dopey faux Egyptian god/superhero from my childhood.)
TEN SIMPLE WAYS TO MAKE SABBATH HAPPEN IN YOUR CRIB
The Bible tells you how to do it (and we’ll start our list there):
- Don’t work. Easy one, right? Maybe not. It MIGHT be that your phone et al is programming you to always be on, and there may be an expectation from your workplace that you’re always available for work. May it never be. Don’t work on the Sabbath. That not only means “don’t do your paying job on the Sabbath”; it means “don’t mar God’s Sabbath with housework and yard mowing.” (My translation.) Don’t work.
- It’s God’s day; remember Him. Holy, again, means “set apart for God alone”. That does NOT mean, I think, “Bible study all day”, and it definitely doesn’t mean “church all day”. It means “this isn’t just some idea we came up with; it’s God’s day and His idea. We honor Him by setting this day aside. (I DO think it means “make time during this day to talk with Him, preferably as a family.”)
- Minimize buying. In the linked passage above (Exodus 20:10 to be specific), God specifies that none of your servants is to work on the Sabbath. You don’t have servants, right? Right? When you go to the grocery store, who is the cashier working for? When you go for a haircut, who is the barber working for? YOU. Orthodox Jews teach that money isn’t to be handled or even discussed on the Sabbath, and no transactions are to be made. Maybe this is just impossible for you… but keep it down. Sabbath isn’t a time for a trip to the mall, or a time to stock up on cleaning supplies.
- Get kids into the habit of rest. Verse 10 also calls out your children. One thing we do at my house is, on the night Sabbath starts (Biblically, days start and end at sunDOWN, not sunup), ring in the Sabbath with a dinner to celebrate its arrival. Families do various things with this meal, but one thing we often do in my home is go around the table and ask, “What’s something you haven’t finished, that you’re working on?” This gets them kids into the mindset that things have to STOP on the Sabbath. (They could be restarted at sundown the next day.) We also don’t allow anybody to make beds or do dishes on the Sabbath (which are REQUIRED on non-Sabbath days)!
Just for practical help, here are some other ways that I’ve seen that will help Sabbath happen for you and yours. We want the Sabbath to be experiential for the kids so:
- The lighting of a candle to “officially begin” the Sabbath is a regular tradition in Jewish homes. I reference this video to support my assertion, but you don’t have to do it this way. This is an extrabiblical tradition.) We do this in my home and, when the candle is lit, everyone sighs a BIG DRAMATIC sigh of relief. (“AAAAAAHHHHHHH…”) Our work is done for the week. Let the resting begin! Hooray!
- Put tech away. Having trouble setting boundaries for the tech in your home? Start by making your Sabbath gizmo-free. It will be a challenge to you at first, then you’ll grow to love it. No phones, no TV, no computers, no email… it’s a dream. I hereby authorize you to actually unplug your internet router when that candle gets lit.
- This idea won’t stun you, but the singing of a song is standard practice for every family I know that has institutes Sabbath observation. And yes singing along with videos is totally fine. Here’s one of my fam doing a simple song, “Shabbat Shalom” (peace of the Sabbath).
- Make the meal special. The Sabbath is supposed to be the highlight of the week. So we eat at the fancy dining table, get out the nice dishes, and have the best meal of the week. (If that sounds like a huge bummer to you, punt it.)
- Honor one another. We like to manage the conversation around the table, so one thing we ask is “what’s something your sibling or your spouse did this week that was terrific?” We also take the opportunity of the meal for dad to bless ever person in the family.
- Start the day real SLOW. Personally, I see how long I can stay in the bed on the morning of the Sabbath. I read and talk and play with my kids. I’ll read books to them, play board games or have tickle fights… whatever. But I find that “not leaving mom and dad’s room” is a pretty solid way to ensure that we’re not going to fall into our normal routines. (And, as a bonus, I’ll tell you to GET OUTSIDE and go for a walk or a bike ride with the crew! You will connect with your family and be recreated in the process!)
Happy for anybody to pile on here with some easy Sabbath tips of your own. In any case, my dudes, you’ve GOT to take a stab at this family-building, culture-forming foundation. You just GOTS to. Start a new tradition this week!!