We’re on the cusp of a holiday weekend, and it was reported in the news on Wednesday that some 24% of employed Canadians don’t take all of their allotted vacation time in any given year. Why do you suppose that is?
The report said that many people are too busy, or feel guilty leaving work. Still others feel nervous taking time off in these trying economic times.
- And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2.2-3, NIV).
In the Ten Commandments, the Lord gave the wandering Israelites a command to set aside the 7th day of the week as a holy day, where they wouldn’t gather any food (it had been provided the day before) and where they would honour the Lord.
The church moved its holy day of rest to the first day of the week so it could celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. And for a long time, in many countries, Sunday was a day of rest. Shopping wasn’t an option. You spent the time with your family, you went to worship, you learned your faith. In our multicultural society, that’s just not the case anymore. But just because stores and restaurants and entertainment facilities are open on Sundays, does that mean we can’t celebrate a day of rest?
Unlike the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who took God’s command for a day of rest to a ridiculous extreme (even limiting the distance a person could walk on the Sabbath), we can see the day of rest as a gift from God: a day set aside for worship, for building family life, for growing in the Lord, and for doing things other than our day-to-day work.
You might wonder how a pastor deals with this, since Sunday is decidedly a work day for us! For me, that’s why God gave me Monday. Unless something of great importance comes up that can’t wait for another day (a funeral, or a special community outreach opportunity, for example), Monday is the day of the week when my wife and I celebrate God’s gift of rest. While we celebrate community worship and developing our faith together on Sunday, we don’t do our day-to-day work on Monday. Taking that one day each week to do something other than our regular work helps us strengthen our marriage, and gives us the energy and determination to spend the rest of the week doing that regular work. And doing so honours God.
Are you honouring God each week with a day of rest?