Do you ever wonder where your Sunday went?
Lately I have been putting a lot of thought into what has happened with our Sundays. Have you? Have your Sundays changed since you were a kid? Mine have! That is the exact reason why I have become particularly bothered by what my Sundays look like.
Growing up, my parents had a very “good” (for lack of a better term) grasp on what a Sabbath was in my mind. During the other 6 days in a week, we would get up, watch the news, do whatever, do all the jobs that needed to be done. Saturday was chore day. Saturday was the “get everything done so we can have a Sabbath” day. With my father being a farmer, they literally did everything they could so that on Sunday, the only thing they had to do was feed and milk the cows. That was it. Now in my opinion, if anybody in this world knows what a Sabbath is, it is that of a farmer. To see my dad work so hard during the week, 6 days a week, then turn off that “work hard” switch on Sundays, and be able to sit, read the Bible, and praise God for a new week, honestly blows my mind. Granted this is the type of home I grew up in. I looked forward to Sundays because I knew I wouldn’t have to do anything. We got up, went to church, had lunch, took naps, laid low until church at night, came home, had a snack, and went to bed. You may be thinking that this would be the most boring day. Trust me, it wasn’t. Looking back, it truly was great preparation for the week to come.
So what happened?
Amongst many things, one in particular sticks out with me: I think culture is starting to run away with our Sabbath. Of course there is no one to blame but myself – I am responsible for how I react to culture. But as I have grown older, I have seen how much our culture wants it to just be another day. What has that looked like? Restaurants and stores are “wierd” if they aren’t open on Sunday. I praise God that I work at a place that is NOT open on Sunday – trust me, in this day and age, it’s wierd. People assume that they need to get that certain item on Sunday – as if they couldn’t get it another day of the week. People assume that Sunday is the only day they can do what they want – as if all the other 6 days they can’t. Sports have taken over Sundays – sports have become people’s livelihoods. Either we are glued to the tv and dread going to church, skip church or youth group at night because of a sporting event on tv, or there is an organized sport that one must go to because otherwise they will never play – so they skip church b/c that sport is their life.
I don’t say these things in arrogance – I say these things b/c these are the exact words I have been told. This is what people are saying. We are LETTING culture run away with our Sundays.
Not gonna lie. I enjoy watching a good game (especially when the Lions are doing what they’re doing!). I enjoy doing what I want to do. But since when is the Sabbath OUR day? Since when is it our decision to put sports and our desires first on God’s day? God states in Exodus 20:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it hol. 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 manservant or maidservant, nor your animal, nor the alien within your gates. 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. “
God gave us a clear commandment in this passage. His provision for us, is well stated. He KNEW we would be struggling to keep this commandment – that is why he gave us specifics. I think about parents and the encouragement they give their kids to work on Sundays – well, when in sports, that is the only other day they can make money. That is so true and I will not deny that. BUT…what does it say in the Bible? At what point do we compromise our desires over God’s? Has culture gotten our mind so wrapped around making money that the only other option is to work on Sundays?
I have really struggled with this. It has been a battle. We see the battle going on in our kids’ lives too. Though, we found out that one of them decided not to play their sport on Sunday because they felt they just didn’t need to – they saw church/youth group as more important. Wow. That is coming from one of our kids. Talk about standing up for their faith! I honestly started to get all teary-eyed when Dan told me that because that is the exact thing I have been wrestling with. And to hear that one of them made the choice to choose church over a sport? All I could do was praise God. Now, the opposite is said too – one is skipping church because “this” sport is this kid’s life – there are no if, ands, or buts. They skip church to do whatever it takes so that they can play. That hurts – not from a numbers standpoint, but to know that this is the lifestyle this kid will probably adopt into his own family. What has culture taught our kids? The only way to be successful is through a sport? Satisfaction in life will come greater through playing a sport than going to church?
What are we telling or showing God by misusing this day? It’s like receiving a gift and throwing it back in someone’s face, saying I don’t want this. We’re saying it’s not good enough.
Dan and I have learned a lot AND are STILL LEARNING. We have realized that we, too, can let culture run away with our Sunday. Dan and I have really tried to plan ahead as much as we can so that we never have to go to the store on Sundays. That is just for us personally. We try to not go shopping or see a movie. That is just us. We would rather do that the other 6 days a week. For everyone, a day of rest looks different – I understand that. I know some would say that the only way for their job to get done was to work on Sunday – well, that is between you and God. Just remember that whatever example you are setting for your kids, they will probably follow.
I know this may offend some. I know some would say that they NEED to do this and that in order to keep a job, survive, or whatever. I am speaking generally. But I am also just trying to make us think. I think we DON’T always think about what we do on Sundays and then end up getting ourselves into a routine, making it hard to get out of. Then we just tell ourselves “oh well!” I am just challenging us to rethink what God has commanded us in Exodus (and Deuteronomy for that matter).
So what does your Sabbath look like? What are your priorities? Do you think about everything that you do and whether it is honoring God’s day? How has culture tried to runaway with your Sunday? What do you see going on around you that is dishonoring God’s day?
Let me know what YOU find particularly difficult in keeping this commandment!