Friday, September 03, 2010

Flashback Friday: God's Labor Day

***Originally posted on Labor Day, 2008. Still appropriate today, especially with so many recent headlines on pastor and church burnout. Have a great weekend everyone, and be sure to take some time off to rest up.***

[Monday] we celebrate Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, but the official celebration of America's work force. Originally, Labor Day was celebrated to honor workers' unions through speeches and parades. Today, the typical Labor Day celebration consists of sleeping in, barbecues, and ironically work. In fact, as soon as I finish posting this, I'm going to tackle a couple of outdoor projects I've been putting off.

Despite how widely celebrated this holiday is (even I have it off, and that says something) God's labor day is more widely, or at least frequently observed. I'm talking of course, about the Sabbath. Even though different Christian churches have various doctrines surrounding the Sabbath (Seventh Day Adventists for example) and debate whether we're still compelled to observe the Sabbath Laws under the New Covenant, there's still a perfectly good reason God instituted this day.

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God... 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. (Ex 20:8-11)
I'm not going to debate creation in six literal days here, but rather stress that even God took a break and there's no reason we shouldn't too. For this reason, we have in America the traditional 40 hour work-week (but who really works only 40 hours?) with "weekends" off. Even the term weekend is to intentionally set aside Saturday and Sunday on the calendar to respect the Judeo-Christian roots of this country.

I heard during a sermon, that even though we may not be commanded to observe the Sabbath under the New Covenant, if we don't take the Sabbath, the Sabbath will take us. Each one of the Ten Commandments, besides honoring God, protects us. Like most laws, the intent isn't just that of justice, but also to protect the general welfare of the populace. The Sabbath is no different. Think about your last big project at work, or finals week in college, or hell week in high school football, or the last week of planning and organizing before your wedding. Anytime you've dedicated yourself to something so thoroughly, there's usually a "let-down" once you're done. Why? You didn't take a break as the Lord commanded. Just recently I returned from helping my mom move. What happened a few days after I got back? I got sick.

Unfortunately, we don't observe the Sabbath the way God intends. We fool ourselves into thinking we're honoring God by filling the day with church-related activities- morning worship, afternoon meetings, evening Bible study, you know the drill. I asked one of my co-workers if he had any big plans and he replied, "well the first two days are already shot." His wife was hosting a bridal shower at their house on Saturday and Sunday was church. So on the usual Monday he, myself, and many other co-workers are more tired than we were on Friday. Why? Because we never really rested as God intended.

So here I am today, with a long list of "honey do's". Why such the long list? Because I didn't do a dog-gone thing yesterday. And I feel great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree...we need to rest.