IV “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
A preacher rode by one Sunday morning to see a farmer and church member at work harvesting. “Brother,” the minister lectured him, “don’t you know that the Creator made the world in six days and rested on the seventh?” “Yes,” said the farmer, “I know all about that, but He got finished and I didn’t!”
There has been much debate over one particular thing in this commandment; What constitutes “work”? Where do we draw the line? What about jobs that require you to work on Sundays? I believe God exhibits grace concerning some things. However, when I had jobs that required me to work on Sundays, I would have to say my spirit suffered, because I missed the worship and I missed the fellowship. (Other testimonies?)
There are three things that I would say are important in this scripture; “remember”, “rest”, and “revere”. It’s a call to remember basically three things about God;
1. God’s power and creation. 2. God’s provision. 3. God’s holiness.
It is also a call to “rest”. God took time out to rest and enjoy his creation. He made us, He created us, He certainly knows that we need rest and relaxation. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, our bodies need time to refresh. Statistics show that after 40 hours of work, concentration levels drop; mistakes increase; moral begins to nosedive; and even our health is affected. People who are workaholics lead the charts in work related disorders such as; high blood pressure, heart problems, stress and depression… This is why God built into the system a “mini-vacation” called the Sabbath.
We need a physical change of environment. We need an emotional change of environment. We need to encounter joy, and creativeness, and fellowship. And, of course, we need a spiritual re-charge.
What we receive on the Sabbath gives us what we need to base the rest of our week and our lives on. If we do not take time to rest and focus on God, we will become worn out physically – “burn-out” – we will get burned out emotionally and spiritually as well. This causes us to get caught in a downward spiral that weakens marriages; divides families; puts tension on friendships; and even weakens our moral and ethical convictions.
God wants us to stop working on the Sabbath, but He also wants us to start worshipping. That’s why He adds “and keep it holy”… the word “holy” has to do with being set apart for God. It is a time to spend in worship; it is also a time to spend in activities that contribute to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. (What would they be?)
Would you consider this a negative or a positive command?
To what extremes can we take it?
One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did.” “But you didn’t notice,” said the winning woodsman, “that when I sat down to rest, I was sharpening my ax.”
In what ways can we sharpen our ax on the Sabbath?