Why I keep a Sabbath…. even from mountain biking.

TOTW Knollfest 2014 2

I don’t want to get off on a religious rant, but I’ve always had a policy of not riding on Sunday and some of my friends and riding associates may wonder why, so I thought I’d address it here. And since it’s my blog, I guess no one’s going to stop me.

I love mountain biking and would probably ride every day of the week, 365 days a year if I thought I could. But someone a lot smarter than me, God, decreed a long time ago that everyone should rest one in every seven days. Seems like a small thing, and many don’t observe this particular commandment or do it in a different way than me, but since this one is among the top ten from Sinai, I figure it must be important. It’s right there at number four, in fact: “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy”.

I believe that God gives us commandments not to bully us or restrict us, but because He loves us and wants us to be happy. And since He knows everything, He also knows the path that leads to happiness and peace (not to mention better health). I also believe that God does not give any commandment to His children without a pretty nice blessing attached if we keep that commandment. When I was a kid I mostly kept this commandment out of fear of being grounded by my parents. But a long time ago while going to college I decided I would put this particular commandment to the test. I decided to make a pact with myself and God that I wouldn’t do any homework or school work on Sundays. I wouldn’t work or do other recreational activities and I would dedicate the day to Him.

One of the surest ways to get confirmation that something works is to try it. Well, after eight more years of college and graduating with a doctorate degree in optometry magna cum laude I never did do any homework on Sunday and never felt like my grades or test performance suffered for taking that day off. In fact I think at least some of my success in school I can attribute to that decision to keep the Sabbath. With this new found confirmation I decided to apply the same test to other things in my life and found that the blessings kept flowing. Now I love taking a break from everything once a week, worshiping God and just resting from my labors…. Even mountain biking. I feel rejuvenated physically, mentally, and spiritually when I observe the Sabbath.

I love this scripture from Isaiah 58:13-14: It’s formatted in the classic “If-Then” format where a condition is prescribed and a result is promised if the condition is met. Check out the promised blessing in verse 14. If that’s not a clear reference to mountain biking, I don’t know what is.

13 ¶If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

So for me, at least, keeping a Sabbath is something that helps me recover and stay rested and feeling fresh for my five to six day a week mountain biking habit….. and I believe it keeps me in God’s good graces as well which is never a bad thing.

Let me know what your experience has been as far as riding every day versus taking one day off every week.

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13 thoughts on “Why I keep a Sabbath…. even from mountain biking.

  1. I’m not religious. However, I am a big proponent of resting as part of a healthy life. I get 8hrs+ of sleep a night. If the day allows I grab a nap mid-day. I try to take care of my work and chores during the week so my weekend is truly for taking a break. I will often ride both days of the weekend, but I feel better after riding so I look at it as part of my rest/recovering program not more “work”.

    I would not ride every day even if I had the time. I find that taking time off the bike makes riding more fun and I am stronger with less chance of injury. I think riding every other day would probably be ideal.

    There have been times when I have not mountain biked for a whole week despite having time to do so. I don’t force it. If my body/brain is not feeling the stoke to ride I give it a break. I’ve been a lifelong mountain biker so I know it’s a short term thing.

    Ultimately I think it’s critical in life to live with conviction and purpose. What that means to each of us one of our jobs in life to find out.

    • That’s a good perspective, Vik, and I agree. If I’m not feeling it I don’t always ride, or I do something different, but usually I just go anyway and by time I’m five strokes into the ride I’m glad I went. It’s rare that I’ll go a full week without riding but if I do it’s because I’m sick or right after the first trail-closing snow fall of the year. That makes me grumpy and I usually stay in and sulk. Then I get over it, bundle up and get back to my 5-6 rides a week routine.

  2. I love the non-politically correct willingness to share your faith. God bless you for this (and your very informative reviews). I find myself putting a lot of stock in new bike purchases based on your opinions.

  3. I enjoyed your message. I also take the Sabbath off from all of my normal weekly activities. I know that for many moto and mtb riders Sunday is their favorite day to ride, but for me I think it is good to have a day to rest from work and recreational activities. It gives me a chance to focus on resting, serving and helping others, which is more difficult to do during the work week. As much as I love cycling and motos, it is nice to have a day to recharge my batteries.

  4. a fellow mtb enthusiast AND man of God!! Love it Rob – thanks for sharing your perspective! I’ve grown in my faith to understand that so much we take for granted has been given to us by God… not our own doing. I relate that to the amazing wonder of the terrain we love to ride. I always refer to it as “spiritual” – for some that may mean other things, but i do feel a bit closer to our father when we are enjoying the beauty of what he created!

    • Thanks Kamper. I don’t know if I’m a man of God, but I do believe that faith in God matters. I also agree that some of the beautiful places we can access with our bikes are almost sacred and have real power to draw us closer to God (whether we choose to recognize it or not).

  5. Hey Krob loved your article and commitment to keeping the Sabbath. It takes a lot of dedacation to keep one. But curious why do you think the Sabbath is Sunday? Sabbath is actually on Saturday. Seventh Day=Sabbath. Either way keep up the good work! Enjoy your articles!!

    And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:1–3).

    • Hey, Andrew, to answer your question, the Sabbath was always observed on Saturday by the Jews. This included the followers of Christ until his death and Resurrection. Since He rose on a Sunday, his disciples began to observe the Sabbath on Sunday from that time forward.

  6. Thanks KRob, I love to hear about other Christian Mt. Bikers and really appreciate your comments. I do go out on Sundays with my brother after Church and after lunch with the families. I don’t work on Sundays and don’t get a chance to ride every day, (maybe a couple times a week) so my Sunday ride really helps me feel a little closer to God’s artwork and to Him. When I see a deer or a special bird or something breathtaking I always feel like He as given me a special little gift for that ride. Thanks again for your words. They were a “witness” for me.

  7. Really thoughtful post Kent. Thanks for doing it. As a believer, it certainly gives me something to think about. With my job, I typically find that I’m a mess on Sunday unless I can blow off some steam, and riding is perfect for that. Not taking anything away from the content, but the thing that struck me the most was Vik’s comment. It illustrates what it seems the news outlets would deem impossible: believers and non-believers can discuss topics and disagree in a completely respectful manner. It was so refreshing to see. Thanks again for your thoughtful post. Take care friend.


    • Thanks for the thoughtful, respectful reply, Drew. Like I said in the post, I didn’t want to get into a big religious debate about it, so I appreciate your viewpoint.

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