Tithe My Time, or Keep the Sabbath?
- Monday, September 17, 2012
So let me make some practical suggestions.
1. TAKE A FULL TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OFF EVERY SEVEN DAYS.
There is an eternal principle here that goes right back to the creation. God created and worked for six days and then rested on the seventh. If resting one day out of seven is good enough for God it ought to be good enough for us!
The original purpose of the Sabbath was twofold. If we analyze all the Old Testament verses we find two themes describing what the Sabbath is for: Rest and Worship. The idea of rest is emphasized more than worship.
Exodus 23:12: "Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed."
The idea is refreshment, recharging our batteries, resting our souls, our animals, and our servants.
Sometimes we think we can be like the Energizer Bunny—and just keep going and going and going. But, the bunny is a fraud. They do have to keep putting new batteries in eventually.
We think we can take 20 minutes every day or so at Starbucks and be fine—not!
Twenty-four hours off is not to leave work at noon on one day and go back to work at noon on the next. In this scenario we still worked every day. God says that we need to stop every six days for 24 solid hours. We need a full-day where no work occurs.
For many of us this means five days at our job, one day working at home to get all the chores done, and one day with no work whatsoever.
Several dozen master’s level students at MIT were sleep deprived for 48 hours. At the end of the study, brain scans revealed that the scan of a master’s level student kept awake for 48 hours is remarkably like the brain scan of a schizophrenic.
2. MAKE YOUR SABBATH THE MOST ENJOYABLE DAY OF YOUR WEEK.
In the first century, Sunday worship was a time of great joy! In fact the Christians had so much fun that the Romans suspected that Christians were guilty of orgies on Sunday.
Jesus said: "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).
Fundamentally, Christ saw the Sabbath (and by extension, all of life) as being a day of restoration and connectedness with God.
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:4-7). How do you make a day holy? By making it unpleasant, restrictive, and boring like the Pharisees did? Or by making it fulfilling and joyous and special like Jesus did? By making it as much as possible like Hell? Or as much as possible like Heaven?
I remember a youth spaghetti party at our church that fed several hundreds one Sunday evening.
A family interested in attending our church went to the dinner. The next Sunday one of their children overheard the parents discussing where to go to church: “I want to go to the spaghetti church!” he said. And so they did.
Do what restores on Sunday. For some it is to mow the grass. For others it is to go on a hike or play a sport like golf or tennis. Maybe it is to read or work on a hobby or get together for family dinners. Maybe like you like to cook out and make S'mores. The Sabbath was made for you. Rest and have fun.
3. SPEND SOME TIME IN WORSHIP DURING YOUR SABBATH.
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: “I have in my heart a small, shy plant called reverence; I cultivate that on Sundays."
Like all other days, the entire day belongs to God. Use your Sabbath as an opportunity to enter into the divine relationship between experiencing God and rest (in other words, “worship”).
Isaiah 30:15: “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,…’”
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