- Philip Sopher published a piece in The Atlantic two years ago (Here) that traced the term “weekend” to 1879. While the concept existed prior to that date, he claims the term didn’t. He and countless others claim the concept of the seven week with six days of work and one day of rest can be traced back to ancient Babylon, and completely denies that the ancient Jews practiced a day of rest (a Sabbath day) prior to their captivity in Babylon. In all fairness, Mr. Sopher wrote his article to advance a shorter work-week, not to get bogged down in a biblical debate.
Ours is a nation with a Judeo-Christian heritage, which explains why the 5 or 6 day work week has been the norm (with few exceptions) for most of the last 400 years. The Jews practice a Sabbath that begins on Friday evening and lasts through Saturday. Christians worship on the Lord’s Day, Sunday. Generically, I use both the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day interchangeably.
The five-day work-week is vanishing; so is the six-day work-week. I know several young men who work seven days a week, and I did it myself for years. This is the result of both a changing economy and a disconnect with Judeo-Christian values.
Not honoring the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day does not make you a bad Christian. Mark 2:27 quotes Jesus:
The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.
Christ took time to rest. He stole away by Himself, or with His closest friends. Personal rest and corporate worship are vital to your life. If we want to grow close to God, we must try to rest and honor Him in spite of our work schedule and the economy. Not observing the Sabbath or Lord’s Day does not make you a bad Christian, but not finding time for rest and worshipping together with your family and brothers and sisters in Christ can cause you to lose that personal connection with our Lord Jesus. And if you lose that relationship, your family may follow your example.
I know that a great many may not be able to coordinate their schedules as I suggest here. I’m not wealthy; I’m a working stiff just like most of you. The point is to improve on our current habits.
How Christians may restore the Sabbath. Rest and worship are important and necessary. The point of this article is to encourage Christians to honor the Lord’s Day as a family. At least, try to take one day of rest and spend it physically idle, communing with God, and cherishing your family.
- If you work Sundays, pray about it, and then ask your employer for Sundays off. Explain how important worship and rest has become to you. You may not get an immediate positive response, but you may. If not, be persistent. Ask again and again when the opportunity presents itself. See if anyone is willing to swap a shift with you and, if so, bring that news to your boss. As a last resort finds some time to rest and worship, no matter what day.
- Get up early and begin your Sabbath with a family breakfast. When was the last time you did that? Prepare your Sunday meals and snacks before Sunday so that no one is cooking on the Lord’s Day.
- Go to church as a family and stay in services as a family. Don’t always usher the kids off the children’s church or teen worship. Not always. Teach them to listen and absorb God’s Word in the adult service. Discuss the service with them later. Show them how the message that was preached is important to you and how you will apply it to your life. There are many who think segregating children and teenagers from the adult services is one of the primary reasons so many kids drop out of church once they are out of their parent’s home.
- Go home and eat dinner together. Prepare your Sunday meals ahead of time, so no one has to cook. Rest the remainder of the day.
- Go to evening service if you wish, but do not go out to eat with friends from church. While socializing with brothers and sisters in Christ is integral to the body of believers, those relationships should not be built at the expense of your relationship with your Lord. Sundays are about resting and regenerating your strength, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On Sunday, we rest in the arms of Christ.
- Leave the TV off. Stay off the computer. Turn off your smart phone. Talk as a family, read the Bible as a family. Read Christian books. Discuss your reading, or simply rest. On Sunday we rest.
Try this for 60 days, and see how what happens. Will you grow closer to God? To your family? Let me know. I’ll let you know how it works for me.