18. Holiday or Holy day? – Part 1
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”
As we continue in our series “Relationship not Rules” we come to the fourth commandment and the last command that revolves around our relationship with God, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” Exodus 20:8. Of the 10 commandments this is the one that is often taken the most lightly. Against the other commandments like, “Thou shall not kill”, “Thou shall not steal”, and “Do not commit adultery” it seems rather mild and harmless. But nothing could be further from the truth. As the final commandment dealing with man’s relationship with God it concludes all that we need to know in order to experience the full and abundant life that Jesus talked about. God’s rightful place and man’s rightful place cannot be understood in life without this commandment. There are really two parts to this command:
1. Keep the Sabbath day holy – This has to do with our worship
2. Six days shall you work – This has to do with our work.
We cannot find meaning in work without worship, and worship without work has no practical value! It is the combination of both worship and work in the right order that creates a full humanity and purpose to life. Without worship work just becomes a self-seeking endeavor that revolves around self not service and so it has no lasting sense of purpose. That is why Paul exhorted us in Colossians 3:17 that “Whatever you do, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Work without worship is waste while worship without work is a witness to laziness not to the Lord. We cannot experience work as a joyous thing without realizing that our work is being done for something and someone greater than ourselves. While worship without work gives no expression of God’s power in our lives to those of this world. We must honor both parts of this commandment to know God’s best in life. So lets look first at the:
1. THE WORSHIPPER
A. Relationship 20:8
This command revolves around our relationship not around a rule. So often when we think of the Sabbath, we make it about not working, and so we miss the whole message. It’s not about not working it’s about worshiping the Lord, and you can’t worship if your busy with work. The Sabbath is about relationship with the Lord, and when we trade worship for work it erodes our relationship with Him. We start trusting in our work and what we can do and it’s not long before we start worshiping our work. We don’t just loose perspective we lose our purpose. Life starts to revolve around riches instead of relationship. It’s not long before our lack of time for God the Father results in a lack of time for family. We become too busy to love our kids and our spouse. Because we are investing our greatest treasure, time on riches instead of relationship. The first part of this commandment provides perspective to life because it reminds us that worship comes before work. While the Sabbath was the last day of creation for God, it was man’s first full day of existence with God. We forget that man began his journey with worship before work! And so, we should begin our week with worship, because worship not only fuels us for work, it fits us for work. Worship molds us into the kind of workers we are called to be, servants. When we find ourselves being more prone to selfishness than servanthood often it’s because we have become more of a worker than a worshipper. Worship fuels our work, but work before worship drains us, leaving us empty and weak. Without worship our work has no lasting value, it is only temporal. Instead of investing in eternal treasure we invest in empty trinkets. We work really hard and 20 years later what do we have, stuff but not satisfaction, money but no meaning. Work without worship causes us to become consumers instead of contributors. What’s wrong with our culture today is not so much a lack of work but worship. We harp on a work ethic but what good is that without a worship ethic? Nothing we do as work has any eternal significance to it if it is not done out of a relationship with an eternal God. Why because man is a spiritual being, and if what he does has not come from a spiritual perspective it has little value to it. Worship frames everything in our lives by giving significance to everything beyond a materialistic framework. Today we are making work about money instead of the Messiah why? Because we are putting work ahead of worship. While we all need money, we need to remember that we need the Messiah more. Money without the Messiah leads to misery. What kind of a witness is a workaholic to a watching world? They are a witness to what self can do not to what the Savior has done. In our minds we start the week with work and end with worship on the weekend. But what if we started with worship, Sunday would not only fuel our Monday but would sustain us everyday. God desired fellowship with Adam before sending Adam into the garden to work it. Who do you have in your life that can tell you when your work is crowding out your worship of Christ? The purpose of this commandment is to prevent people who worked most of the week from losing the spiritual dynamic to their life and thus forgetting the purpose to work and life. Failure to worship will have an impact of the satisfaction of our work! Instead of serving from a place of fullness because we have been fueled by worship, we will work to try to fill our lives. We will work to try to find meaning to life instead of work based on a sense purpose. Worship renews our spirit which in turn energizes our body. So, what about you is your work fueled by your worship or is your work keeping you from worship?