Monday, February 22, 2016

Holier Than the Rest - Martin Wiles

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Deuteronomy 5:12 NLT

While growing up, Sunday was a tense day because of do’s and don’t’s. 

As a child, the list of things I couldn’t do on Sunday outpaced the list of things I could do. For Dad, all the rules of the Old Testament Sabbath (Saturday) had been transferred to Sunday. 

Thankfully, Mom could cook and clean up the kitchen. But no cleaning the house, washing clothes, working in the yard, going to the movies, or going to stores. This wasn’t a problem since the only stores open were the drug stores and a few gas stations. I grew up believing this day was holier than all the others because of all the things I couldn’t do. 

Observing the Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments. Over time, religious authorities added their interpretations about how a person did this. By the time Jesus arrived, hundreds of “don’t rules” applied. Jesus had to remind people they weren’t created for the Sabbath. Rather, the Sabbath was created for their benefit.  

Early Christians celebrated the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath because it was the day of Jesus’ resurrection. Their observances focused on celebration rather than what they couldn’t do. They fellowshipped, ate, observed the Lord’s Supper, and tended to each other’s needs. It was a day of do’s. 

Perhaps the original command—and the later celebration of the first day of the week, has less to do with worship than we might imagine. After all, I should worship and reverence God every day. This one day, however, is for my benefit. God commanded rest. No work. Not even for animals. Observing one day each week reminds me my body isn’t a machine.

Hallowing one day also reminds me I need other people. In the dark days of the early church, believers needed each other as do present day believers. I can watch preaching and singing on television or the internet. But there’s something special about worshiping God with other believers who I can share and empathize with. 

God established one day as holier than all the rest. Whether it’s Saturday or Sunday is immaterial. What we do with and on that day isn’t. 

Make your one day about the do’s rather than the don’t’s. 

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us one day when we can worship You collectively and share with each other bountifully. 

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