ODJ: work and leisure

April 6, 2014 

READ: Exodus 20:8-11 

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy (v.8).

Sunday’s here. Hurrah! Let’s go to church in the morning and then catch up on all those things that we couldn’t do during the week. Is that how you view the Lord’s Day? Personal confession: that’s often the way I feel after a busy work week. But is that wrong?

Of the Ten Commandments given by God, only the fourth commandment about observing the Sabbath isn’t repeated in the New Testament. Many have concluded that since we’re no longer under the restrictions of the Sabbath, we’re also under no obligation to respect the Lord’s Day. This simply isn’t so. There are timeless principles found in the fourth commandment that are still relevant today.

The commandment tells us that while we should be involved in productive labour, we should also take time to rest (Exodus 20:9-10). The principle is simple: work for 6 days and rest for 1.

A Bible commentator states, “The reason why men do not wish to stop what they are doing is most often that they have not finished. The fourth commandment deals with this problem by instructing the Israelites to plan to be finished by the end of the sixth day and to see to it that they do finish.”

Also, it takes time to be holy. Ancient Israel’s cessation of normal work was to facilitate her worship. We’re not simply to “take a day off”—we’re to “[keep] it holy” (v.8). So what activities are appropriate on the Lord’s Day? Christians will come to differing conclusions about what this means in practice, but our submission to Jesus Christ’s lordship is primary (Romans 14:5-9).

The general principle: the Lord’s Day should be set aside to worship God with His people and to rest your mind and body. —Poh Fang Chia

2 Samuel 12:1-25 ‹365-day plan

Read Colossians 2:16-17 and note what Paul says about the Sabbath. The ultimate Sabbath rest is when we come to rest in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf.  
Are there attitudes or activities that you need to change so that you can better honour God on the Lord’s Day? Why is rest so important?