Keeping Holy The Sabbath

06.1.18 | Pulpit Posts

We live in a world whereby it seems that every hour of every day is filled with things that need to be done, however we never seem to have enough time to do it all. How often have you caught yourself wishing for more hours in the day or more days in the week so that you could finally catch up and finish everything that you are supposed to do.

Parkinson’s law says, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” So, regardless of how much time you had available you still wouldn’t have enough.

This Sunday’s gospel talks about the sabbath, the day the Lord rested from the creation of the world. A day that we are to rest from our labors.

The Sabbath, a day of rest, seems to be archaic today 2018. You’re thinking, “well sure that was fine for back when people didn’t have as much to do, as far to go. In 2018 we need every hour of every day and every day of the week to get done what we have to get done.”

Please remember one cardinal rule of life, “You do, what you want to do.” The fourth commandment was not given just for the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness, and it wasn’t just given for Jesus and his disciples. The fourth commandment is as valid today as it was 30 years ago, 200 years ago, 2000 years ago or 4000 years ago.

God didn’t just designate a “Sabbath Day” to annoy people or to interrupt their weekend plans, he did it because he knew what we are like. He knew that if he didn’t take a time out in our lives that we wouldn’t take one. A tree has to take a break. It can’t say it should really produce leaves all year round. A bear doesn’t choose to hibernate or not hibernate. Nature has no choice, it must take a break because that’s the way it was created. People are different as we have our freedom and that is the problem. We can drive our bodies, minds and emotions well past the breaking point.

We have the power of choice and because of that power we are always in danger of destroying ourselves for some false set of values. Because of this great hazard, God gave us a great gift, the Sabbath day, a day set apart, the Lord’s day, a day of rest and worship, relaxation, recuperation and joy. It is his gift to us, but it’s up to each of us to decide whether or not we will accept it.

We live in a tired generation, we are chasing something that may never be able to be caught, and we are willing to make way too many sacrifices for it. So, we become a busier and busier race of people. Seriously, how many of us turn our smartphone, blackberries and I-Phones off other than to go to sleep. Or do you just turn the sound off?

The rest that God wants us to take allows us to step back from the arena of life and evaluate exactly what it is we are trying to achieve. Even from a purely physical perspective it has been proven that people cannot go on indefinitely without things starting to go wrong with their bodies, their minds and their emotions. God is basically telling us in the fourth commandment, “Take a break.” The only time we know we have done enough is when we are running on empty and when the ones we love most are the ones we see the least.

The Sabbath should be a Day of Reflection. Not only does God call us to rest on a special day but he also calls us to Reflect on that day as well. And so on that day it’s good to stop and reflect on what God has done and give thanks. To gather with God’s people and celebrate his goodness. To pause and give a little back to God, our time, our money, our talents. People say, “well I can do that without going to church,” Sure, but do they.

Our problem today is we take a holy day and turn it into a holiday, a day of commercialism. Isn’t this what happens at Christmas and Easter? More time is spent on the commercial side then on the religious side.

People say that we needed Sunday shopping because there was no time during the week. In my younger years nothing was open on Sunday and we found time to shop, do whatever during the week. Sunday was a day to reflect on what God has done for us and relax.

Several weeks ago, Pope Francis on “60 Minutes,” said, “God created the Sabbath for us to rest. That God had paused and reflected on what He had done the first six days and the seventh day He called Holy.”

When we slow down and rest and reflect on the goodness of God it allows us a time of refreshing. It recharges our batteries.

The day of rest shouldn’t end when we walk out the door of the church and say, “now I have done my duty and now I can get on with life.” The Sabbath wasn’t an hour it was a day. If nothing else when we pause and reflect it will give us a new perspective on the rest of our days.

So, on the Sabbath as an example, make time for family, relax. You will note this scene is notable shown on the TV show “Blue Bloods” where the family gathers for dinner on Sundays.

Sundays may not be possible for all especially those who have to work. To that I say choose another day during the week. Find a church that is open for services during the week as many are. Come together with other believers to celebrate God! Take time for a conversation with God. Take a break!

Rev. Robert Jacobs

Rev. Robert Jacobs

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