Mental rest on the Lord's Day?

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FivePointSpurgeonist

Puritan Board Freshman
What are everyone's thoughts on those who need mental rest rather than physical rest on the Lord's day?

For example the accountant who has a mentally demanding job, who is very busy through the week and spends most his week sedentary, comes to Sunday and doesn't need physical rest but needs to rest his mind and not spend time reading etc.
Or for the one who has limited mental strength and can not spend much time reading and needs mental rest.

How do you suggest these people keep the Lord's day holy?
For some, a 3 hour walk would not be resting on the Lord's day, but for these people, 3 hours spent in prayer while walking in nature may be what he needs?

Any practical suggestions?
 

jw

Administrator
The rest of the Lord's Day is not merely and especially not mostly a physical rest, but a resting from all of those six-day thoughts, speeches, and actions which are not primarily directed to the worship of God. It is a day to take up a different kind of work, which undoubtedly involves heavy mental focus. This will vary from person to person, but the sabbath day is especially the day wherein the Lord sanctifies His people via the preaching of the Word, and prayer, and praise. When in Isaiah we are commanded to cease from our own ways, and our own pleasures, it is speaking of things which are -at other times- lawful. This will include our thoughts, which must be spent on His glory particularly, on His day. Of course, this revelation shuts us up to faith in Christ, recognizing the weakness of our flesh adequately to harness even our otherday lawful thoughts, redirecting them heavenward. As for the walking in nature thing, I am unsure what nature has to do with it. Does this mean you must take up volumes of the Puritans for reading on such a day? I don't think so. In fact, some of the day must often be spent in works of mercy and necessity, which may curtail some reading. I have found that the Lord's Day -with a church that better facilitates sabbath-keeping- simultaneously to be one of the most restful days, yet a satisfyingly exhausting day, there being so much fodder for reflection, self-examination, and conference with the Lord's people.
 

FivePointSpurgeonist

Puritan Board Freshman
The rest of the Lord's Day is not merely and especially not mostly a physical rest, but a resting from all of those six-day thoughts, speeches, and actions which are not primarily directed to the worship of God. It is a day to take up a different kind of work, which undoubtedly involves heavy mental focus. This will vary from person to person, but the sabbath day is especially the day wherein the Lord sanctifies His people via the preaching of the Word, and prayer, and praise. When in Isaiah we are commanded to cease from our own ways, and our own pleasures, it is speaking of things which are -at other times- lawful. This will include our thoughts, which must be spent on His glory particularly, on His day. Of course, this revelation shuts us up to faith in Christ, recognizing the weakness of our flesh adequately to harness even our otherday lawful thoughts, redirecting them heavenward. As for the walking in nature thing, I am unsure what nature has to do with it. Does this mean you must take up volumes of the Puritans for reading on such a day? I don't think so. In fact, some of the day must often be spent in works of mercy and necessity, which may curtail some reading. I have found that the Lord's Day -with a church that better facilitates sabbath-keeping- simultaneously to be one of the most restful days, yet a satisfyingly exhausting day, there being so much fodder for reflection, self-examination, and conference with the Lord's people.
Thanks for your response. It certainly helps me understand for the first example I used.

What do you suggest for the one who is very limited in their ability to focus (let alone the ability for "heavy mental focus") for whatever legitimate reason.
For the one whose mental strength is exhausted once home from church, where they may be unable to read, pray etc?

Nature has nothing to do with anything, it was an example, would you recognise walking (anywhere) for 3 hours to commune with the Lord as a legitimate activity on the Lord's day?


I think that the problem is that you probably need to take more time off for recreation during the rest of the week.

While not applicable to me, thank you for your response.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Senior
I think that the problem is that you probably need to take more time off for recreation during the rest of the week.
I think I remember David Murray making that point once in connection to questions about recreation on the Lord's Day. It's a very helpful one.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I think I remember David Murray making that point once in connection to questions about recreation on the Lord's Day. It's a very helpful one.

There is a 19th-century volume of essays, which I am reading on and off, entitled The Christian Sabbath. The authors continuously make the point that those who advocated for recreations on the Sabbath argued that many people had no other time for their leisure pursuits. The solution, however, was to ensure that they had more time off work during the week, rather than to profane the Lord's Day. (See Baptist Noel's comments for an example of what I am talking about.)

Of late, I have noticed how subtle the Devil is in tempting zealous Christian young people to misspend the Sabbath. Many of these folks are, to use Kevin DeYoung's term, "crazy busy" with religious activities during the week - to the point that they neither have enough time for their studies nor for lawful recreation. When you ask them if they want to go somewhere or do something, the response you often get is, "Sorry, but I am doing something for some meeting or other." So, when do these guys have any time for leisure? You have guessed it - on the Lord's Day. The things that they ought to be doing on other days, they are wrongfully doing on the day that should be exclusively dedicated to God.
 
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jw

Administrator
What do you suggest for the one who is very limited in their ability to focus (let alone the ability for "heavy mental focus") for whatever legitimate reason.
For the one whose mental strength is exhausted once home from church, where they may be unable to read, pray etc?

[W]ould you recognise walking (anywhere) for 3 hours to commune with the Lord as a legitimate activity on the Lord's day?
1. Brother, I cannot possibly know all that is needed in order to give suggestions completely suitable in any kind of blanket way. What I would suggest to any person is that -on the one hand- they put away hard stops on what is perceived to be a limitation, but -on the other hand- not despair when infirmities are manifest. I would encourage them to cry out to the Lord, being humbled by setbacks and falls, but encouraged by incremental advancements. None of us will ever keep a perfect sabbath, or perfectly obey any commandment, in this world of clay. But such ought to be our endeavor -not as a means of merit before the Lord, but as an expression of our thankfulness to God.

2. Not typically would I consider such a legitimate activity on the Lord's Day, but that does not mean it would never be. For the most part, the day should be spent in secret, private, and corporate worship, executing acts of necessity & mercy, moderate rest (in order to the previous mentioned things), and holy conference with others of like precious faith. However, it may be that a person is absented from their typical circumstances. For example, if tomorrow some poor soul finds himself relegated to a household that is bent on Super Baal Sunday entertainment, and there is no other means of relocation, it may be a better use of their time to retreat on a walk, meditating upon what has been preached at church, or some other thing. But this should hardly be the typical circumstance.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
One thing you might consider and enjoy is listening to sermons with earbuds while you walk. There are tons of sermons easily accessed by your phone. Seminaries have lectures by their professors. Now and then people post links here to sermons or sermon sites that have meant a lot to them. There are podcasts with interviews and discussions. There are Youtube videos about church history. John Piper has a couple dozen biographies of Christian "heroes of the faith". If you are too burned out to even concentrate on a lesson type of audio, plug in some Christian songs you like and the algorithms will start pulling up other music. Last week my phone pulled up songs I hadn't heard in 30 years, it was delightful.

Definitely do the 3 hour walk, but like others said, try to get some walks in during the other six days too. You don't eat one huge meal for the week, you eat every day.

Edit to add: this is a search here that brought up eight pages. You'll for sure find something worth listening to if you want audio while you walk. Many of the posts are old so I don't know how many are still available, but you can poke around. Just prayer walks are nice too though.


jw...."super baal Sunday". Lol.
 
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