I remember when my now 24 year old grandson was just a child and already a Bible scholar. He carried his Bible almost everywhere he went. He knew all the commandments and when Sunday came, he knew he’d be going to church to praise God for all His blessings. He also interpreted the part about no work on Sunday as truth. We had a discussion about that part of the commandment one Sunday when we had our family over to help with some raking and other chores that were difficult for us to do alone.
I explained that we definitely should be obedient to the commandments, but if he was doing something that was of help to his dear, old grandparents, he was also serving God. After that conversation, he became a little more willing to help on those special days.
Jesus talked about the Sabbath day on a few occasions. Once, while traveling through a field of grain, His disciples grew hungry and plucked a few heads of grain to nibble on. Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees about working on the Sabbath. I don’t exactly understand why snatching a piece of grain would be considered work, but apparently these guys were sticklers for the law.
From there, Jesus went on to the synagogue where He found a man with a withered hand. In His mercy, He healed the man and was again questioned about working on the Sabbath. These guys were ready to pin anything they could think of to make Jesus look bad.
In the books of the Gospel we read of these events and wonder. Looking back at the Old Testament, the law is clear. The Sabbath is a day of rest, as on the seventh day of creation, God Himself rested. The day was intended to be a time of relaxation for a week of hard work, but the truth of this commandment lies in the action we often forget about, which is to set it aside as a day of thanksgiving, worship and praise for the One who created it all.
The time of rest doesn’t give us an excuse to forget about helping others or doing what is good in God’s name. The Sabbath day is still to be considered holy and devoted to our Creator. Corporate worship is not commanded, but it is certainly something to look forward to. We’re allowing the Word to rest on our souls. We’re giving the Holy Spirit deserved time to work in broken hearts and bodies. We can sing His praises through hymns and Psalms. We are called as a unified body to pray for our country, our families, our friends and even those we don’t know. By giving our time to God, we’re honoring His name. Don’t let the things that often consume our free time, interfere with our worship.
Our church family is an important factor. When we fellowship with other believers, we have a chance to witness, to offer advice, encourage, to share the good news of God and to pray together. We’re all in the same boat. We go to church, because we need the encouragement of God’s Word to sustain us through the coming week. We’re b3dlessed by the Sacraments. We confess our sins together and we’re forgiven.
God deserves our praise, thanks and honor every day, but one day and a couple hours of being together with fellow believers isn’t asking for much. God loves us with an unconditional love. He shed His blood for our salvation. He not only commands us to set one day aside for Him, He deserves it.