Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Worship The Lord"1 (Lyrics)
Exodus 31:13 – You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. (NIV)
Most of my time in the work force was spent working evenings, nights, and weekends. It seemed to be a good idea, because my husband was with the children when I was not. But I often missed family celebrations and church. My faith weakened; so did my family. I had another day off during the week, which I spent by myself. When our children grew up, my husband was on his own. We were like ships passing in the night.
Working on Sundays is often necessary, especially for health-care workers. Signs at the travel agency and a store that I worked in proclaimed, We are open Sundays for our customers' convenience. I suspect that it was really for the owners' greed. Years ago, a major Canadian department store ran a full-page newspaper ad promising customers that they would never be open on Sunday. Eventually, they reneged on their promise. This year, they declared bankruptcy.
Occasionally, customers remarked, "It's too bad that you have to work today!" They could have come in another day. Eventually, it became important to me that I was not responsible for making someone else work, and I made a commitment to God. I found that when I politely turn down invitations, others are less than encouraging:
"We eat out on Sunday because it's our day of rest." "Employees have to work anyway." "Those who work on Sunday are not Christians." "We treat others to lunch; that's a good deed." "You miss important Christian fellowship when you don't join us for lunch." "You work in your garden." "That's an Old Testament requirement; the New Testament gives us new rules." "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." "Attending church is what makes the day holy." "You cannot change the world."
The spirit of God's law was for families to rest and enjoy one another. With single parenting, shift work, 24-hour shopping, and Sunday events, it has become almost impossible. Satan is not interested in our spending time together, either as a family or a church.
Romans 12:2a – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (NIV)
Non-believers leave their quiet coffeehouses when the after-church crowd arrives. Is it a stumbling block to them when we do not act in a way that they think Christians should? Or have we kept our part of God's covenant by showing the "sign" that we attended church?
Whatever personal promise we make, we will be tested. If I am tempted to renege, God strengthens me and provides a way out. My covenant makes no difference to anyone else. They do not understand it. But I believe that God is honouring my promise.
1 Corinthians 10:13b – God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV)
Prayer: Father, for those who love You, every day is holy. In today's fast-paced world, we need time to rest and pursue relationships with our family and with You. Help us to know what is most important, and to organize our time accordingly. This we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.