Why is it so hard to stop for one day, give ourselves wholly to God and family, and rest?
If you’re anything like me, not working in some form or fashion on a Sunday is downright challenging. I’m a doer and a goer and I have this never ending list of things I need to accomplish that I’m always somehow chugging through.
Rarely do I allow myself an hour or two to sit lazily with my family in front of the TV, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit my husband and I have decided many times during Saturday evening discussions whether or not we’ll be taking our family to church the next morning, all driven on how packed our To Do lists are.
Why is this a problem?
Well, it’s a problem because we’re teaching our children what’s acceptable or not acceptable through our own example.
A few weeks ago I set off on a mission to paint my daughter’s bedroom. I was determined to get the job completed before the weekend was over. My husband had a stack of documents pertaining to our personal finances he needed to go through.
We blew off going to church. We slept in. We had brunch together as a family and then we each went to work on our tasks for the day. The kids went outside to play.
I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt.
- We should have been at church that morning instead of sleeping in.
- We should have been spending time together as a family, instead of all going our separate ways to work.
- We should have placed God as a priority, and at the very least, listened to worship music while enjoying our brunch or discussed scripture with each other since we had chosen not to go to church, which didn’t just affect me and my husband spiritually, but also our children!
This got me thinking.
What does scripture teach us about Sabbath?
Exodus 16:23 says:
He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”
God instructed the Israelites not to cook food on the Sabbath because He knew the busy routine of daily living would become a distraction and the people would get caught up in those activities instead of worshipping Him.
Exodus 20:8-11 says:
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it, you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 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.
Resting and worshipping on the Sabbath day isn’t just an old testament law - it’s one of the Ten Commandments! God commands us to rest and worship Him! He knows we need our spiritual tank filled up so we can be more effective in doing God-glorifying kingdom work on the days when we are working.
In Nehemiah 10:31, scripture teaches about not buying or selling on the Sabbath because it makes the Sabbath about money rather than God.
Luke 4:40 tells us that in Jesus’ day the Sabbath went from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. A 24 hour period.
So what’s okay on the Sabbath?
Think about it from Jesus’ perspective. He observed the Sabbath, but he also worked miracles on the Sabbath. He did this out of love for others. He did this work because it was the morally right thing to do.
So we need to ask ourselves... Is the work I'm doing being done with greedy intentions, placing money first? Or is the work being done out of love for others? Is the work serving God's purpose?
My choice to paint my daughter’s room was done as an act of love and service toward her, not for my own personal gain. Still, we missed church which wasn’t putting God first or teaching our children to put God first - so that choice was NOT serving God’s purpose.
A better option would have been to go to church, have brunch together as a family afterward, and then paint her room - or better yet - spend time with her face to face and paint the next day instead.
You may be thinking, “I have a job that doesn’t allow me to have every Sunday off.”
I'm not the authority, but this is my thought about it. Go back to how Jesus would view your work. Are you working with greedy intentions (asking for the extra work/hours so you can earn more money, even though you may not necessarily need the extra cash) or do you work because your employer demands a particular schedule and it’s important to keep your job which is necessary to provide for your family?
Have you asked for Sundays off?
In some cases - not all - letting your boss know it’s important to you for faith reasons that you have Sundays off is all that’s needed for a schedule adjustment. However, if that’s not possible, the bible also teaches us (in Ephesians) to submit to our employers. Do what you have to do because it’s the right thing for your family.
Just be sure to take a day that you are off work and observe it as your Sabbath day. Rest. Read scripture. Pray. Spend quality time with the people you love. Refuel.
I’m praying God will speak these Sabbath verses to my heart and my husband’s heart in the weeks to come, changing our choices for His glory and according to His commandments.
How do you spend Sunday? What tips can you share with me and other readers that help you and your family stay self-disciplined in observing God’s commanded day of rest and worship?
Have you ever felt like you're failing as a mom, wife, homemaker or woman? Sometimes life deals us circumstances that paralyze us emotionally. When this happens you don't have to be stuck in that rut. Grab a copy of Refuel Your Inner SuperMom and start getting your groove back today! *Only $4.99 on Amazon Kindle*
Latest posts by Rosann Cunningham (see all)
- The Secret to Being a More Productive and Confident Woman - December 4, 2013
- Celebrating Christmas eBook Bundle Full of Traditions, Gift Ideas, Recipes, and More! - December 2, 2013
- Christmas Planning Resources - December 2, 2013