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Journal of Psychology and Theology
2004, Vol. 32, No. 1, 3-11
Copyright 2004 by Rosemead School of Psychology
Biola University, 0091-6471/410-730
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
he phrase “Sabbath keeping” may appear
quaint and outdated, a throwback to a time
captured in a Currier & Ives lithograph.
Indeed, for many Christians today, Sundays are full
of little league games, finding a parking spot at the
mall and getting through the to-do list on home pro-
jects. In New York, Catholic leaders have bemoaned
the fact that church attendance is regularly disregard-
ed for youth Sunday soccer games (Rather, 1999).
The fundamental religious meaning of Sabbath is
also a concern for Protestant denominations. A
recent survey by the mainline protestant
denomination Presbyterian Church USA reflected
not only the loss of time set apart for Sabbath but
also its spiritual dimension (n = 1,123; Guinn, 1999).
Approximately 60% of the respondents reported
spending less than five hours a week in activities that
could be regarded as Sabbath keeping, and while a
majority saw it as a time for personal rest and
restoration (79%), a far smaller number focused on
its religious aspects such as showing the Kingdom of
God to the world (55%).
The purpose of this article is to explore three dif-
ferent models of Sabbath keeping, explicating their
benefits for well-being as well as their challenges. We
argue that while each model provides some benefits
to psychological well-being, the third, “integrated
Sabbath” offers the best outcomes and is most close-
ly aligned with the multiple themes found in biblical
references pertaining to the Sabbath.
MODELS OF SABBATH KEEPING
The Bible has many passages in the Old and New
Testaments regarding the importance of keeping the
Sabbath as part of God’s law and covenant. While
there are distinct themes associated with Sabbath
keeping in both testaments, the Bible offers no
single prescription for how to spend the Sabbath
day. While Orthodox Judaism has developed a
strong tradition around the practice of Sabbath
keeping (Goldenberg, 1991), Christianity has always
struggled with the exact meaning of “keeping the
Sabbath” (Bacchiocchi, 1998; McCrossen, 2000). In
addition, the pluralism of American society is reflect-
ed in the multifaceted ways that people tend to
approach Sabbath keeping in their lives. With this in
mind we do not define Sabbath keeping as merely a
cessation from daily labor or activities, or a photo
negative of our everyday lives. Instead, Sabbath keep-
ing broadly defined consists of intentional periods
REDISCOVERING MODELS OF
SABBATH KEEPING: IMPLICATIONS FOR
LISA KLEIN SURDYK, and DENISE DANIELS
Seattle Pacific University
There is a growing interest in Sabbath keeping in
America as a counterbalance to our culture’s con-
sumerism, exhaustion, and loss of segmentation
between work and other life arenas. We describe
three models of Sabbath keeping, their implications
for well-being, their inherent challenges and a pro-
gram of research to investigate the proposed rela-
tionships. The models are (a) Life Segmentation, in
which people actively segment their lives to create
respite; (b) Prescribed Meaning, in which people pre-
scribe positive and religious meaning to life segmen-
tation; and (c) Integrated Sabbath, in which Sabbath
keeping is celebrated as an integrated belief system
of daily rest, reflection and relationship development.
A previous draft of this article was presented at Religion and
Well-Being Session, 2001 American Psychological Association
Annual Conference—Division 36 Psychology of Religion. The
authors would like to thank the three reviewers for their helpful
comments. Correspondence regarding this article can be sent to
Margaret Diddams, Seattle Pacific University, School of Psycholo-
gy, Family & Community, Seattle WA 98119. Email:
1All biblical references are from the New International Version
(The Holy Bible, 1978).
of time set aside to restore equilibrium to the mind,
spirit, and body where a person may use his or her
religious belief system to reflect on life’s personal
and spiritual meaning.
This definition can be applied to three modern
approaches to Sabbath keeping: (a) Life Segmenta-
tion, in which people actively segment their lives to
create respite; (b) Prescribed Meaning, in which
people prescribe positive and religious meaning to
life segmentation; and (c) Integrated Sabbath, in
which Sabbath keeping is celebrated as an integrated
belief system of daily rest, reflection, and relation-
ship development. It is important to note that these
three models of Sabbath-keeping are not necessarily
independent, but that they build on one another.
That is, someone who practices Sabbath keeping as
described in model 2 continues to incorporate
aspects of life segmentation from model 1. Similarly,
the third model of integrated Sabbath presumes
both life segmentation and prescribed meaning.
For each model we review the psychological liter-
ature to hypothesize the probable well-being associ-
ated with it. Finally we address the challenges inher-
ent in keeping each Sabbath model, ending with a
proposed program of research.
Sabbath Model 1: Life Segmentation
By the seventh day God had finished the work
he had been doing; so on the seventh day
he rested from all his work. (Genesis 2:2)
Keeping the Sabbath is usually associated with
the fourth of the Ten Commandments given to the
Hebrew nation after their exodus from Egypt.2
However, the origin of the Sabbath is in the creation
story when God rests on the seventh day. The word
“rest” in the creation story is translated from the
Hebrew verb saba
-t, meaning, “to cease, desist or put
to an end” (Morgenstern, 1962). People who follow
a life segmentation model of Sabbath intentionally
segment work from other life arenas and participate
in leisure or family activities on a regular basis. This
segmentation is not necessarily tied to normative
religious or spiritual practice, and most of those who
follow this model of Sabbath would not necessarily
characterize themselves as “Sabbath keepers.” How-
ever, they have “ceased” or “put to an end” by creat-
ing boundary conditions between work and other
important life domains (Belkin, 1999; Schor, 1992).
This intentional segmentation has become increas-
ingly important as the physical boundaries between
work and home fade with telecommuting and
increased use of home offices (Etozioni, 2000; Fried-
man & Greenhaus, 2000).
Whether people take off an entire day or find
some regular period of segmentation, the key benefit
to this model is that people find respite or experi-
ence less stress by inserting “punctuation” around
their activities each week. Literature in the area of
stress and stress management has highlighted the
importance of balance in one’s life as a way to effec-
tively cope with stress that cannot be eliminated.
That is, people who are committed to roles in sever-
al areas of their lives (family, work, social, intellectu-
al, physical, etc.), yet have multiple resources to draw
upon when faced with stress, are more likely to
respond in positive ways to stressors than those who
are committed to only a few roles (Kobasa, 1979).
This concept is known as resiliency, that is, the
capacity to recover from a downturn to a former
state of relative well-being (Carver, 1998). Actively
disengaging from work to focus on other areas of
one’s life can help promote a more balanced
lifestyle, providing greater psychological resiliency
(Linville, 1987; Whetten & Cameron, 1998).
The first challenge to the life segmentation
model is that the segmentation may not be holistic
and subsequently not offer total respite. That is, peo-
ple may physically detach themselves from a stressful
work situation, but unless they redirect mentally,
emotionally, or spiritually, they will not necessarily
experience respite. In other words, leisure can be as
taxing as work (Aron, 1999). Etzion, Eden, and Lapi-
dot (1998) found that Israeli reservists were more
likely to experience respite from their regular job
when they were able to psychologically detach from
it during their reserve service.
The second challenge for this model of Sabbath
keeping is that it is possible for it to devolve into a
set of rules. For people who are interested in keeping
the Sabbath through life segmentation, but have no
faith tradition regarding the practice, it is easy to
begin by simply adding rules to their lives: no email,
no going into the office, no grading papers, etc. If
people add rules to their lives because they decide
they should slow down, they may feel less in control
of their lives than if they had never adopted inten-
tional segmentation. According to Deci and Ryan’s
introjected regulation model of self-determination
(Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1995; Ryan & Deci, 2000,
2001), behavior that is intra-individually driven can
2Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15.
DIDDAMS, SURDYK, and DANIELS 5
still have an external locus of control through social,
familial, or other expectations and not be truly per-
ceived as part of the self. Activities that are driven
through introjected regulation are performed to
avoid guilt or anxiety, and subsequently undermine
the joy and self-competency inherent in those activi-
ties. Even though this behavior is internally driven,
actions are controlled or coerced by “shoulds” that
are external to a person’s sense of self (Deci & Ryan,
1995). Subsequently, rather than ameliorate stress
associated with daily life, Sabbath-keeping as anoth-
er add-on set of rules may exacerbate it.
Sabbath Model 2: Prescribed Meaning
For in six days the LORD made the heavens
and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore
the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and
made it holy.(Exodus 20:11)
One way to introduce holistic respite and to pre-
vent Sabbath keeping from becoming merely a set of
rules is to associate positive meaning with it. This
positive meaning can be found in the Sabbath’s holi-
ness. The Hebrew word for holy, “qadosh,” pertains
to certain places, objects, or occasions when people
enter into relatively direct contact with the divine
power. The underlying idea is not separation, but the
positive thought of encounter with God that calls for
a reverent, worshipful response such as prayer, study
and celebration (Brown, 1982; Mirsky, 2000).
Sources of positive personal meaning for the Sab-
bath include interpreting the Sabbath day through
one’s faith, discovering opportunities for personal
growth, and creating community with others.
Through the process of positive reappraisal, the
meaning of a situation is changed in a way that
allows the person to experience positive emotion
and psychological well-being in the midst of stressful
situations (Folkman & Moskowitz, 2000a, 2000b).
While much of the early research on stress and sub-
sequent coping activity has focused on the negative
attributes and outcomes of stress, more recent
research has focused on the development of positive
personal meaning that often accompanies coping
with stress (Holahan & Moos, 1991). The coping lit-
erature is full of examples of the importance of posi-
tive reflection for one’s health, especially in the face
of chronic stress (Moskowitz, Folkman, Collette, &
Vittinghoff, 1996). In addition, the positive meaning
associated with religious beliefs has also been shown
to serve as a coping mechanism in the presence of ill-
ness and death (Pargament, 1997; Richards & Folk-
man, 1997; Stolley, Buckwalter, & Koeing, 1999).
In choosing to observe Sabbath, people often
reflect on the meaning associated with engaging in
habits that are different than those of the cultural
norm. Our culture values productivity; a popular the-
saurus equates unproductive with wasteful (Merri-
am-Webster, 1989). However, reflecting on her own
Sabbath experiences, author Barbara Brown Taylor
It was not sloth. It was Sabbath, and its effect was immediate.
Relationships became more spacious. Prayer became more
spacious. Time itself became more spacious. Instead of charg-
ing out the gate on Monday mornings, I found myself saunter-
ing instead, still relishing the freedom of the day before. There
was never enough time to get everything done, but I finally
understood there never would be. There would only be
enough time to live with as much gratitude as I could muster.
Keeping the Sabbath with prescribed meaning helps to
redefine aspects of life, giving different and positive per-
sonal meaning to values others consider unimportant.
The key challenge to this model is to avoid prac-
ticing Sabbath keeping as the means to other ends
rather than as an end in itself. In the spirit of Ameri-
can multi-tasking, people might choose to keep the
Sabbath for additional motives such as protecting
family time or ensuring some scheduled time for val-
ued recreational activities. However, labeling this
time as “Sabbath” may dilute the personal meaning
derived from one’s religious beliefs. In the end,
focusing on actions that are not integrated with per-
sonal meaning diminishes the potency of this model
to impact well-being. This tension between using the
Sabbath as a means to other ends is not new. Rabbi
Abraham Heschel (1979) quoted the Ancient
Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo (20 BC-AD
50), in defense of the Jewish Sabbath:
On this day we are commanded to abstain from all work, not
because the law inculcates slackness. . . Its object is rather to
give man relaxation from continuous and unending toil and
by refreshing their bodies with a regularly calculated system of
remissions to send them out renewed to their old activities.
For a breathing spell enables not merely ordinary people but
athletes also to collect their strength with a stronger force
behind them to undertake promptly and patiently each of the
tasks set before them. (pp. 13-14)
Rabbi Heschel commented that this interpretation
viewed the Sabbath as a means to renewed strength
and activity and that this interpretation would be
wrong. He noted that man is not a beast of burden
and the Sabbath is not for the purpose of enhancing
efficiency of his work. One way to prevent Sabbath
keeping from becoming a means to other ends is to
understand that it is not a religious contractual
agreement but instead based on God’s covenant
with his people: “The Israelites are to observe the
Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come
as a lasting covenant” (Exodus 31:16). Scottish the-
ologian James Torrance (1981, 1996) drew a very
clear distinction between contract and covenant. A
contract is a legal relationship in which two people
or two parties bind themselves together under mutu-
al conditions to affect some future result. However,
God’s covenant is not conditioned by anything
expected from people but is founded solely on the
love of God for his creation. God makes a covenant
for us not with us. In a covenant, Torrance wrote,
the indicatives of grace always precede the impera-
tives of law and human obligation. God’s grace is
not made conditional on man’s obedience to God’s
commandments (contract). Instead people follow
this precept with joy and gratitude because it is
God’s sign of unmerited favor in his creation and
redemption of the world (covenant).
Sabbath keeping as a covenant occurs when we
believe that God’s grace to us is not conditional on
obedience. Instead we follow the commandment to
keep the Sabbath with joy as we recognize God’s gift
of relationship with his creation (Torrance, 1981).
Focus on this covenant helps to avoid using Sabbath
keeping as simply another stress-reduction tool to
make us more productive during the workweek.
Sabbath Model 3: Integrated Sabbath
Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who
obeys them will live by them. (Leviticus 18:5)
Sabbath keeping will offer the most respite when
it is celebrated as part of a cycle of integrated and
intrinsically motivated faith that is part of one’s
everyday life and sense of self (Allport, 1960; Allport
& Ross, 1967). Rather than continuing to live a hec-
tic life and attempt to segmentation with Sabbath
keeping, we believe that psychological well-being
will be most pronounced when Sabbath keeping
becomes integrated into an internalized religious
belief system that regularly strives for respite and
well-being. The early church fathers referred to this
as Otium Sanctum or holy leisure. They meant a
sense of balance in life, an ability to be at peace
through the activities of the day, every day; an abili-
ty to rest, to take time to enjoy beauty and to pace
oneself (Foster, 1978). The ability to integrate one’s
belief system into a daily way of life that incorporates
Sabbath principles presupposes an established faith.
It is impossible to keep the Sabbath as described in
this third model without a faith system that recog-
nizes the pervasiveness of God’s holiness in everyday
According to Deci and Ryan’s (1985, 1995) self-
determination theory (SDT), self-determined behav-
iors that meet basic psychological needs will lead to
personal growth, integrity and well-being only to the
extent that the behavior becomes internalized into
one’s self system through autonomy, competence
and relatedness (Cowen, 1991; Kasser & Ryan, 1996;
Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2001; Sheldon & Kasser, 1998).
After reviewing biblical texts related to Sabbath
keeping, we identified three important Sabbath
keeping themes that align with SDT themes of auton-
omy, competence, and relatedness: rest, reflection,
and relationships, respectively. In the next section
we review biblical Sabbath texts connected to these
three themes and the psychological literature associ-
ated with each.
SABBATH KEEPING THEMES
Rest and autonomy
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed
in all their vast array. By the seventh day
God had finished the work he had been doing;
so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
If one believes in a God that has the awesome
power to create the universe, God’s rest on the sev-
enth day of the creation story should not be inter-
preted as a stay from exhaustion. Rather it indicates
God’s autonomous choice not to be subject to his
creation but ruler over it. The deliverance of the
Hebrew nation from the bondage of slavery not only
freed them from physical servitude, but it gave them
the freedom to experience spiritual rest, that being
made in the likeness of God, they too could decide
when to view their work as complete. As Bass (2000)
wrote, “To keep the Sabbath is to exercise one’s free-
dom, to declare oneself to be neither a tool to be
employed . . . nor a beast to be burdened” (p. 48).
With integrated Sabbath we recognize what we
can control and what we actively surrender—it is an
internalized rest, not one forced on or withheld from
us by social considerations. This autonomy is defined
DIDDAMS, SURDYK, and DANIELS 7
as “feelings of personal volition towards activities
that are congruent with one’s sense of self” (Ryan &
Deci, 2000, p. 74). An autonomously functioning
individual experiences more personal value for activi-
ties when they are seen as emanating from him or her-
self. The choice, volition and freedom from excessive
external pressure that are hallmarks of autonomy
have repeatedly been shown to relate to well-being
(Myers & Diener, 1995; Reis, Sheldon, Gable,
Roscoe, & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Sheldon,
Ryan, & Reis, 1996). In addition, autonomy has been
shown to be an important component for internaliz-
ing religious belief. Ryan, Rigby, and King (1993)
found that religiosity characterized by autonomous
identification was related to increased volunteer
activity and more conducive toward mental health
than a socially prescribed religiosity. In related
research, Strahan and Craig (1995; cited in Ryan &
Deci, 2000) found that parents who encouraged their
children’s autonomous participation in church pro-
moted greater religious identification among them.
Sabbath rest recognizes that life contains many
cycles, seasons, endings, and beginnings, and that
rest itself is a good and important attribute of one’s
life. Integrated Sabbath values rest for its own sake
and prevents work and productivity from controlling
our lives (Peterson, 1994).
Reflection and Competence
Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you.
In integrated Sabbath keeping, reflection repre-
sents the conscious mental endeavor to integrate
hope into an internalized belief system. Recognizing
Sabbath’s holiness or apartness, Sabbath keeping is
most likely to be integrated into a sense of self to the
extent that people actually feel that they can devote
an entire day to Sabbath keeping without negatively
impacting their lives. According to Ryan and Deci
(2000), people must perceive personal competence
in addition to experiencing their behavior as self-
determined to build well-being. In turn, this sense of
competency, or self-efficacy, is an important compo-
nent of hope, which is also positively related to well-
being (Snyder, 1994; Snyder, Cheavens & Michaels,
1999; Snyder, Cheavens, & Sympson, 1997).
However, competency is not necessarily an intra-
individual construct. As Lazarus (1999) noted, the
Snyder et al. model posits a sense of personal compe-
tence or control over outcomes dealing with life and
the world. He added that hope is still possible even
when we are personally helpless to affect outcomes,
such as remission from cancer. We label this type of
hope “transcendent hope.” In transcendent hope,
people do not have a personal sense of control over
their pathways nor in their ability to enact a solution
to an outcome. However, they believe that there is
power outside the physical realm that can indeed
positively impact outcomes. This notion of transcen-
dent hope is reflected in the writings of the Apostle
Paul: “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes
for what he already has? But if we hope for what we
do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans
Bandura (1997) noted that a sense of personal
agency can derive from within oneself or it can be by
proxy of others, what he labeled “proxy control.”
Subsequently, people who do not have direct control
over a situation can still derive a sense of control or
hope. Indeed, Weldon, Adkins, Ingle, and Dixon
(1996) hypothesized that the locus of control factors
—internal, external and chance—were deficient in
that they did not recognize the belief in a God who
has control in the world. They labeled this attribute
“God Control” and found that God Control mea-
sures were independent of established external and
chance locus of control measures, suggesting that
hope in God is not simply an abandonment of per-
sonal control over life’s outcomes.
Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
provided a good example of such transcendent
hope. In 1985, prior to the end of apartheid in South
Africa, Archbishop Tutu made the astonishing state-
ment that he could celebrate the defeat of apartheid
because God would not be denied the victory over
evil. Several years later he reflected on his comments,
saying that during the darkest time of apartheid
“when evil seemed to be on the rampage and about
to overwhelm goodness, one held on to this article
of faith by the skin of one’s teeth. It was a kind of
theological whistling in the dark and one was fre-
quently tempted to whisper in God’s ear ‘for good-
ness sake, why don’t you make it obvious that You
are in charge?’” (Tutu, 1999, p. 4). In 1985 Archbish-
op Tutu did not know what the future held but he
experienced transcendent hope believing that God
owned the pathway to the future.
On the flip side, worry destroys transcendent
hope. Worry has been defined as a disturbing cogni-
tion that a state of an object in some domain in life
(health, safety, etc.) will become (or become more or
remain) discrepant from its desired state (Boehnke,
Schwartz, Stromberg, & Sagiv, 1998; Schwartz, Sagiv,
& Boehnke, 2000). For example, Schwartz et al.
found that worry was especially negatively related to
well-being for people who held power values, which
emphasize self-interest at the expense of others.
While Boehnke et al. found that there was no rela-
tionship between worries and subjective well-being
when worries were external to the self such as home-
lessness, child abuse, or global debt, worries about
one’s self, such as being unattractive, fear of unem-
ployment, death of loved ones, etc., were negatively
related to subjective well-being. By worrying, people
replace God with themselves as a central source of
hope which will decrease feelings of competence in
resolving life’s discrepancies. Spending the Sabbath
day worrying about future personal issues disregards
its covenantal nature by forgetting that the Sabbath
reflects the sign of God’s mercy and blessing to cre-
ation (Yang, 1997). In the Sermon on the Mount
Jesus reflected on the corrosive aspect of worrying
on well-being when he said
I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or
drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more
important than food, and the body more important than
clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap
or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds
them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you
by worrying can add a single hour to his life? . . . Therefore do
not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-
Sabbath keeping is not just a celebration of God’s
past blessings but a positive expectation of the future
centered on him.
Relationships and relatedness
There are six days when you may work, but the
seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred
assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you
live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:3)
Sacred assembly can be an important aspect of
Sabbath keeping, strengthening one’s social identity
with others who also keep the Sabbath. For exam-
ple, the Sabbath is central to Jewish identity. There
is an old adage that says, “More than the Jews have
kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews”
A review of the psychological literature has shown
that the need to belong is a powerful, fundamental,
and extremely pervasive motivation (Baumeister &
Leary, 1995). Belongingness through more specific
social identity (ethnic identity, racial identity, or col-
lective self-esteem) has also repeatedly been shown to
relate to positive psychological adjustment (Contrada
& Ashmore, 1999; Elliott & Sherwin, 1997; Lee &
Robbins, 1998; Myers, 2000). Social support through
spiritual social identity offers such benefits as rein-
forcing the coping mechanisms of one’s religious
schema when faced with bereavement (McIntosh, Sil-
ver, & Wortman, 1993; Richards & Folkman, 1997).
Eugene Peterson (1994) reflected on this positive
aspect of relationships when he noted that during the
18 years he served as a pastor, he and his wife regular-
ly used Monday as their personal Sabbath day. How-
ever, when he left the ministry to accept an academic
position, they were able to join with their congrega-
tion in keeping the Sabbath. He wrote that this sense
of community in keeping the Sabbath has added an
element of festivity to the day.
In addition, many theologians have encouraged
people to spend part of their Sabbath day in works
of mercy in showing love to others (Primus, 1991).
Such activities may include feeding the hungry, cloth-
ing the naked, lodging the homeless and visiting the
sick and imprisoned. Being with and serving others
can prevent Sabbath keeping from evolving into self-
absorption (Smith, 2000).
In summary, rest that emphasizes personal voli-
tion, reflection that builds competence, and relation-
ships that strengthen Sabbath identity are most likely
to lead to Sabbath keeping that is integrated into
one’s self and, in turn, positively impact well-being.
There are two key challenges to keeping this
model. The first challenge is the recognition that the
integrated model calls for a reexamination of one’s
entire life. As Kurt Lewin (1951) noted over 50 years
ago, people must experience a personal “felt need”
before they are willing to undertake dramatic life
changes. It may be that only people who have experi-
enced symptoms of burnout will be willing to under-
take the motivation to radically transform their lives.
A second challenge to this model will be the lack
of support from other Christians in one’s faith based
community to observe an entire Sabbath day. Even
with the increased writings on the importance of
Sabbath keeping in evangelical Christian literature
(e.g. Dawn, 1989; Bass, 2000), apart from attending
church, many Christians are not convinced that it is a
gift but rather, see it as a return to legalistic dogma
(Bacchiocchi, 1998). Without social support from
one’s religious community it will be difficult for indi-
DIDDAMS, SURDYK, and DANIELS 9
viduals to practice Sabbath keeping as a celebration
of an integrated lifestyle, especially in regards to the
relationship aspect of the model.
The importance of keeping a Sabbath day to pro-
mote and maintain an integrated life should not be
underestimated. Social psychology has long shown a
tenuous link between people’s beliefs and actions
(Rokeach, 1968). The integral role of Sabbath keep-
ing in religious belief is a necessary but not sufficient
condition for its practice. Unless Sabbath keeping is a
central part of one’s religious belief system, practiced
with autonomy, competency, and in conjunction with
others, it is easy to have a bifurcated view where
beliefs are divorced from actions and Sabbath keep-
ing is more of an espoused goal rather than action or
“theory” in use (Argyris & Schön, 1996). This can eas-
ily occur since we simply do not live in a culture that
supports or admires integrative Sabbath keeping.
However, as Bass (2000) noted, society chal-
lenges Sabbath, but at the same time, Sabbath chal-
lenges society. Sabbath is prophetic and relevant for
our time, she asserted, precisely because so many
people find it difficult. Practicing rest with reflection
and surrounding oneself in community with others
who hold similar values regarding Sabbath keeping
should help to internalize the practice, making it eas-
ier to go against the grain of larger societal expecta-
tions (Swann, 1990).
DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
There are three key foci for future programs of
research. First, there is little general understanding
regarding the restorative nature of time away from
work (Eden, 2002). For example, why do some peo-
ple dread a return to work on Monday, while others
view Monday as a respite from time at home, and
still others return to work on Monday with a
renewed sense of purpose? Throughout this article
we have hypothesized that respite will be related to
the extent to which people experience self-deter-
mined down time with rest, reflection, and relation-
ships. Future empirical research is necessary to sup-
port these claims.
Once researchers have substantiated those rela-
tionships, the next step will be to investigate the
moderating effects of religious beliefs on the rela-
tionship between respite and time away from work.
Specifically, we would like to examine the moderat-
ing strength of each of the Sabbath keeping models
on work, respite, and well-being. In order to assess
these domains, measures of Sabbath keeping will
need to be developed and related to psychological
Finally, future research could examine pastoral
burnout, time away from work, and reasons for or
against regularly practicing Sabbath keeping. While
pastors have been identified as a key population at
risk for burnout (Hall, 1997), they often feel unable
to regularly disengage from their ministry (Grosch &
Olsen, 2000). Research that documents Sabbath
keeping among pastors and its concomitant relation-
ship to wellness may serve as a tool to encourage
others to seriously consider incorporating Sabbath
keeping in their ministry.
We believe that the psychological evidence sup-
ports all three models of Sabbath keeping in provid-
ing opportunities for respite. However, while the
first two models provide respite from external forces
such as job stress, the third model encourages
respite as a daily activity minimizing the need for
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DIDDAMS, MARGARET. Address: School of Psychology, Family &
Community, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA
98119 . Title: Director of Research & Associate Professor of Graduate
Psychology. Degrees: BA, Wheaton College, MA, PhD, New York
University. Specializations: Industrial/Organizational Psychology,
Human Resource Management, and Behavioral Statistics.
SURDYK, LISA KLEIN. Address: School of Business and Eco-
nomics, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA
98119 . Title: Associate Professor of Economics. Degrees: BA,
Seattle Pacific University, PhD, University of Washington. Special-
izations: Macroeconomics, political economy, managerial eco-
nomics, integrating biblical principles with economics.
DANIELS, DENISE: Address: School of Business and Eco-
nomics, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA
98119 . Title: Associate Professor of Management. Degrees: BA,
Wheaton College; PhD, University of Washington. Specializa-
tions: Organizational Behavior; Human Resource Management
Research Interests; Theology of Business; Sabbath; Motivation;
Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: Impression Management.