The work required on the Sabbath is to prepare for the Kingdom of God, fellowshipping with our brethren, serving where possible, and relieving burdens.
God gave the Sabbath to His people so they can know Him intimately. Idolatry, scattering, and captivity are the natural consequences of Sabbath-breaking.
In the Gospels, questions about the Sabbath center on how to keep it, not whether it should be kept. The way Jesus approached the Sabbath gives us an example.