In his book, Sabbath, Dan Allender (Thomas Nelson, 2009) seeks to change our thinking about the Sabbath. He writes to discredit the idea that the Sabbath is a day to escape or “veg out” in front of the TV/computer or a day to involve ourselves in activities that are a mere distraction from the daily grind.

Allender has a much higher view of the Sabbath. That it is not a duty to keep it but rather a delight. “The Sabbath was made for man.” It is a gift from God. Yet it is a gift we seem to have no idea what to do with. Many of us overwork ourselves on six days and are then so exhausted on the seventh we spend the day in lethargy and weariness telling ourselves we are having a “day off”. This is not God’s intention.

Allender sees it as a day that needs to be planned in advance so we can decide how we can best enjoy the day. He says, “What would you do for twenty-four hours if the only criteria were to pursue your deepest joy?” Many of us have no idea. Somehow pursuing our deepest joy is a scary thought. Life has brought us many griefs and disappointments so we have become reluctant to pursue joy. So the practices contain in this book are not easy to incorporate into one’s own life because it requires a major shift in one’s thinking.

Allender writes to encourage and inspire us towards taking up God’s gift of the Sabbath and to this end he employs a number of word pictures, allegories and stories. I found this easier to grasp in the latter half of the book where he provides practical examples of how he and his wife spent their Sabbaths.

A thought provoking book.