There seems to be quite a bit of confusion in regard to the Sabbath, though the bible isn’t at all unclear about it. It becomes worthwhile to look at some of the aspects of the Sabbath that are often not thought out.
In the book of Genesis, it is stated that God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. (Genesis 2:2) It is from this that one of the biggest misconceptions comes; that the Sabbath, or day of rest, is for God. It only becomes a little clearer when we realize that God doesn’t rest. He is ‘on duty’ every second of every day, seven days a week. Unlike people, He never becomes weary.
If He didn’t need to rest, why does the bible say that he rested? This gives a hint of how brilliant God is. He knew that we, people, would need a day of rest out of every seven. Thus, the Sabbath came into being; a day of rest for men, not for God.
There is an implication here to makes a common disagreement between some churches immaterial. Some churches maintain that the Sabbath is Saturday. Others say that it is on Sunday. However, if the day of rest is for Man rather than for God, it really doesn’t make any difference which day out of the week is used as the Sabbath because the point of it isn’t the day, but the rest we need.
The fact is that the bible is clear in that God wants us to be able to relax from our labors. He knows that we need it. Although not in the bible, the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is true and for this reason, the bible tells us to “Remember the sabbath and keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
So if the Sabbath isn’t for God, why are we told to keep it holy? This is important and it isn’t hard to understand. By keeping it holy, we are by all means supposed to relax and have fun, but without doing those things we know we should not do. The importance of this is especially clear when we remember that what might be work to one person can be relaxation to another.
Having a barbecue, playing a round of golf, enjoying a picnic are all examples of activities that could be considered to be work for some people and not for others. Each of these involves some effort, and yet many people find them relaxing and rewarding. As long as none of these are done in a way that is sinful, and as long as a person feels that they are not actually ‘work’, they are holy, because they are in accordance with the behavior God wishes us to have. When was the last time you thought of having a picnic as a holy activity? As you can see, it can be.
Put in another way, God wants us to take a day each week to relax and have fun, to play if you will, but without violating any of his rules when we do this. Yes, it can also mean going to church and having fellowship with other Christians, but again, this is for man and not for God. We should be worshiping God every day, not just one out of every seven. Also, in a dynamic and lively church, the services can definitely be fun as well as instructional. They should be uplifting, in fact. Another thing to think of is; does the pastor work when delivering the sermon? A good pastor would probably answer, “No”. The work comes before the sermon, when the sermon is prepared. Thus, delivering the sermon wouldn’t be work.
Still, the point of it all is that the Sabbath is for us and not simply as a time of worship to God. Indeed, it shows how well God knows us and how much He loves us as He is so adamant about making sure that we take time for relaxation and fun. He wants us to have playtime and it is important enough that it is mentioned in the second book of the bible, as well as elsewhere.
There is a trap here, though. Besides the warnings not to judge one another, found many times in the bible, we should also not question why a person is working on what we perceive as the Sabbath. In the first place, we don’t know what day of the week that person uses for relaxing as God has decreed. In the second, we don’t know what that other person finds relaxing. If we catch ourselves criticizing a brother or sister because they are working on the Sabbath, it is we who are sinning.
I’m quite mindful of the fact that to me, sitting in my garden and pulling weeds is fun and relaxing. To another person, that might represent hard work. To me, watering the flowerbeds at church is enjoyable. I’m the groundskeeper at church and it is part of my job, which implies work. However, because I enjoy doing it, it isn’t work to me and I can do it on any day of the week, including the Sabbath, without working.
Have you ever had poor opinions of someone else because they appear to work on the Sabbath?