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Summary: Can a Christian really work on Sunday? Can work be a form of worship on Sunday?

I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE. I LIKE A RESTFUL “PEACE AND QUIET” ON SUNDAYS. SUNDAY. RESURRECTION DAY! THE DAY, AS A CHRISTIAN, I FIRMLY BELIEVE TO BE OUR SABBATH.

UNFORTUNATELY, IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION THAT NOT EVERYONE SEES IT THAT WAY. I MUST HUMBLY CONFESS THAT FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS, I HAVE INTERNALLY STRUGGLED WITH HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE SOUNDS AND SMELLS OF LAWN MOWERS AND WEED-EATERS CHOPPING AWAY AT THE YARDS OF SEVERAL HOMES THAT ARE WITHIN SIGHT AND SOUND OF MY OWN.

I HAVE ALWAYS WONDERED WHY THAT PARTICULAR CHORE OF MOWING THE LAWN ON SUNDAY HAS BOTHERED ME SO MUCH AS IT HAS. THERE HAVE EVEN BEEN NUMEROUS TIMES WHERE I’VE SAT THROUGH AND PREACHED THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING SERVICES WHERE EVEN THE NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR TO THE CHURCH WAS FIRING UP HIS LAWN MOWER DURING THE 11 O’CLOCK HOUR.

FOR THE LAST FEW WEEKS, MY WIFE AND I HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING THIS SUBJECT THEOLOGICALLY SINCE IT SEEMS TO WEAR ON MY MIND SO GREATLY. WHY DOES IT BOTHER ME?

IS IT “JUST” MOWING LAWNS ON SUNDAY, I DON’T LIKE? IS IT ONLY THE NOISE OF THE LAWN MOWER DISRUPTING MY “PEACEFUL SUNDAY,” I DON’T LIKE? JUST WHAT IS IT ABOUT SEEING AND HEARING PEOPLE OUT DOING THIS TYPE OF WORK ON SUNDAY THAT BOTHERS ME? IT IS A SUBJECT THAT HAS SPARKED MY MESSAGE TODAY. “THE IRONY OF WORKING ON THE SABBATH.”

YOU MAY REMEMBER BACK A FEW YEARS THE “BLUE LAWS” THAT IMPLIED TO US THAT WE WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO WORK ON SUNDAY. STORES WERE CLOSED, THE GAS STATIONS WERE LOCKED UP TIGHT, AND NOBODY DARED GOING OUT TO PLAY AT THE CITY PARK OR GET SEEN WORKING IN THEIR GARDEN.

I EVEN REMEMBER STORIES MY DAD TELLING ME ABOUT HOW HIS GRANDMOTHER WOULD ALWAYS PREPARE SUNDAY’S DINNER ON SATURDAY NIGHT SO AS NOT TO “WORK” ON SUNDAY. PEOPLE HONORED AND RESPECTED THE SABBATH DAY.

IN OUR SCRIPTURE PASSAGE TODAY, WE ARE INSTRUCTED THAT, “SIX DAYS A WEEK ARE SET APART FOR YOUR DAILY DUTIES AND REGULAR WORK, BUT THE SEVENTH DAY IS A SABBATH DEDICATED TO THE LORD YOUR GOD.”

THE TERM “SABBATH” IS DERIVED FROM THE HEBREW VERB MEANING “TO REST” OR “TO CEASE FROM WORK.” THE PASSAGE IS TELLING US THAT THERE MUST BE, FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS, A DAY OF CESSATION FROM THE NORMAL DAILY ROUTINE. JUST LIKE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WE MUST RING THE BELL AND GO ON “RECESS.” WE MUST HAVE AT LEAST ONE DAY SET ASIDE WHERE WE JUST FLAT-OUT “STOP.”

THERE MUST BE A DAY THAT IS INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED TO INTERRUPT THE NORMAL, EXHAUSTING ACTIVITIES OF OUR DAILY ROUTINES OF WORK. WE MUST GET OURSELVES OUT OF THE GRIND AND OUT OF A RUT, SO-TO-SPEAK.

MORE BLUNTLY STATED, THE SABBATH IS A HOLY DAY. THE SABBATH BELONGS TO GOD. THE SABBATH IS TO BE REMEMBERED WITHOUT EXCEPTION! THE DAY IS SET APART FROM ALL OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK TO BE USED ONLY FOR HOLY PURPOSES. THE SABBATH IS A DAY THAT IS KEPT FREE OF NOT ONLY THE CUSTOMARY LABOR OF SUSTENANCE, BUT, AS WE WOULD SAY, “BUSINESS AS USUAL.”

THERE COMES A POINT IN TIME WHERE WE MUST LIBERATE OURSELVES FROM THE DRUDGERY OF LABOR. SUCH REFRESHMENT IS VITAL AND NECESSARY. SUCH REST REORIENTS OUR VALUES AND IT WILL HELPS US TO GET OUR ATTENTION AWAY FROM BEING PREOCCUPIED WITH THE MATERIALISTIC AND WORLDLY“GETTING AND SPENDING” DEMANDS THAT COME WITH OUR JOB.

WITH ALL OF THAT ENERGY AND ATTENTION WITHDRAWN FROM OUR LABORS IT CAN NOW BE REDIRECTED AND RIGHTLY FOCUSED ON GOD AND ALSO ON THE SPIRITUAL REALITIES ASSOCIATED WITH OUR SALVATION.

HAVING A WILLINGNESS TO DISENGAGE FROM THE WORLD IN ORDER TO FOCUS SOLELY ON GOD’S HOLINESS AND TO WORSHIP HIM AS OUR FATHER AND CREATOR, IS NOTHING LESS THAN MAKING A COVENANT WITH GOD. THIS IS WHAT GOD IS SEEKING FROM US!

EXODUS 31:12-13, “THE LORD THEN GAVE THESE FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS TO MOSES: ‘TELL THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TO KEEP MY SABBATH DAY, FOR THE SABBATH IS A SIGN OF THE COVENANT BETWEEN ME AND YOU FOREVER.”

REST IN THE FORM OF SABBATH, IS A FORM OF FREEDOM AND LIBERATION. IT IS AN INDICATOR THAT WE REFUSE TO BE PUT IN BONDAGE TO WORK, HUMAN STRIVING, GREED, MATERIALISM AND ALL OF THE WORLD’S PREOCCUPATIONS.

SIMPLY PUT: HONORING THE SABBATH AND HAVING THE WILLINGNESS TO REST IS A SIGN OF OUR COMMITMENT TO GOD.

IF WE WILL COME AWAY JUST ONE DAY A WEEK AND COME BEFORE OUR ALMIGHTY FATHER, WHAT WE ARE ULTIMATELY ESTABLISHING WITH HIM IS A COVENANT THAT WE ARE CHOOSING TO RELINQUISH OUR HUMAN SELF-ASSERTIONS IN ORDER TO PLACE OUR FULL TRUST IN HIM.

AS GOD USED MOSES TO LEAD THE HEBREWS OUT OF BONDAGE AND OUT OF EGYPT, SO TOO, MUST WE ALLOW THE SABBATH TO LEAD US OUT OF BONDAGE FROM THE FRANTIC AND EXHAUSTIVE PACE OF LABOR THAT USES US UP AND EMPTIES US OF WHO WE ARE.

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