Keeping the Sabbath HolyDiscussion
I think most active Christians believe that keeping the Sabbath Holy occurs when we attend worship and perhaps Small Group Bible Study, or Sunday School, but I've come to realize there's a lot more to it than that. Exodus 20:10-11 clearly shows us that "rest" is a key component of the Sabbath: rest for ourselves and our families as well for the servants and animals. In fact we see in scripture that after six days of creation God rested on the seventh, the Sabbath. Worship and rest are tied together. I must confess this is where I fail, and often times fail miserably, and as I observe the world around me it occurs to me that most are failing at this as well.
I'm now old enough to remember back to the days in Pennsylvania as a child when "Blue Laws" were in effect. Essentially no business was done on Sundays and stores that attempted to open and serve the public were typically fined and many times closed down. Today we've gone to the extreme opposite. Not only are stores open, many are open twenty-four hours a day.
I've also noticed how technology is rapidly influencing our lives. With all the connectivity and collaboration tools we have available we can literally be at work or busy doing something with technology twenty-four hours a day. Add to this the amount of driving we do on a daily basis, the amount of television or other family activities that also occupy our time, and before you know it "rest" is the last thing we get.
I also have to admit that I've lately realized I don't hold Sunday up as I should, separate and holy to the Lord, but rather I came to see it as a second Saturday of sorts where all of the chores and other activities not accomplished on Saturday simply carry over to the next day. Further, if Sunday wasn't occupied covering for the lack of progress on Saturday, and I actually had free time, it would quickly be filled with work or other personal chores. I've come to realize that Sunday for me is not the Sabbath nor the Sabbath rest God intended; and in treating it as I have been I do not actually worship Him as I should.
Now don't misunderstand. I know that many are required to work on Sunday, including Pastors and staff. Please don't confuse resting on Sunday with the point I'm trying to make. What God's showing me is we need a true rest from our labors, whatever they may be, once every seven days -- Sunday Sabbath, Tuesday Sabbath, Friday Sabbath -- whatever that day may be for each individual God created us needing rest after six days of activity, and a true rest clear from the distractions of the day.
I've committed to Him that I am going to become more focused on this aspect of worship. If our bodies are a temple and we should watch what we eat and how we treat it, then equally so if God tells us we are to rest on the seventh day then we are to rest. For me this will mean some major changes, like not turning on the blackberry or setting down to the computer -- even if its to work on Bible Studies -- rest means rest. I'm even considering fasting as a part of it. I'm not advocating that for anyone but myself but because I think for me resting means eating less and really taking the time to let my entire mind and body rest, not just a portion of it.
I know we have a lot of demands on us, and families with young children even more. But the Lord's reminding me how as I was growing up Sunday's were special, spent in worship in the morning then at home with family for the day, even children need to rest. I've committed to the Lord to do a better job at setting apart a Sabbath's rest, and in doing so in such a way it honors Him as part of a day of worship. I recommend the same for everyone, let's commit to getting God back into the Sabbath in ways we've not thought of in a long time. Let's elevate the priority of rest on the Sabbath to the level God intended so that even in our inactivity we honor Him. May God bless you as you seek His face and seek to His will this coming week.
April 8, 2008