Exodus 20:8-11 | “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Atul Gawande, in his book The Checklist Manifesto, shows how doctors can use a checklist to save lives during surgery. Gawande’s checklist includes three vital “pause points”: before anesthesia, before incision, and before leaving the operating room.
Each pause point lasts no more than a minute—just long enough for the team to make basic checks. The results? In 2008, eight hospitals began using Gawande’s checklist, and within months, the rate of major complications fell by 35 percent and deaths by 47 percent. What an amazing difference brought about by surgical teams taking time to pause during their procedures!
After God delivered His people from Egyptian bondage, he gave them a pause point: the Sabbath. “The seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work” (Exodus 20:10). God instructed His people to remember and observe this day and treat it as holy or set apart from any other regular workday (v.8).
When they observed the Sabbath, they were actually pausing to remember several things: God’s work/rest rhythm in creation (Genesis 2:2), their deliverance from bondage (Deuteronomy 5:12-15), their relationship with God, and His desire to give them refreshment and life (Exodus 31:17).
As our loving God has revealed, it’s vital that we intentionally, regularly include pause points in our lives. On Sunday or some other day, we should pause to remember God’s work/rest rhythm in creation (20:11), to thank Jesus for delivering us from the bondage of sin, to find rest and refreshment in Him, and to anticipate the ultimate pause point when we’ll be in His presence! —Marvin Williams
MORE: Read Isaiah 40:29-31 and Philippians 4:6-7, then consider the purposes of spiritual “pause points.”
NEXT: What kind of “pause point” rhythms do you presently have? If pause points can save patients’ lives, how can spiritual pause points make for healthier lives in Jesus?