As a pastor I strongly advocate resting on the sabbath. It’s more than just the idea that people need to stop doing what they are doing and get to church although there is definitely importance in being at church. I don’t think that the sabbath should be something should be followed legalistically but I believe it should be followed religiously. The Pharisees followed the sabbath legalistically, and made up extra rules about it, even concerning how far they could walk before it was considered work. They then made up rules to get around the original rules, like a person could walk further than the allowed distance if they stopped and ate a mean before going further.
To follow the sabbath religiously is to recognize the value and importance of it and not just follow it because it’s a rule. There is value in resting on the sabbath, not just showing up in church. Some people have to work on Sundays. We need hospital workers and policemen just as much on Sunday as any other day. Then there are a ton of other places that don’t need to be open. The world will keep on spinning if shoes aren’t purchased on Sunday and anyone who really needs a new pair has to go on Saturday or Monday.
But many people are in jobs that they can’t get off on Sundays. This is unfortunate but also reality. I would never tell someone to quit their job because Sunday work was required but I would strongly recommend that when looking for a job to find one that doesn’t require work on Sundays. But what about the people who do have to work on Sundays?
For everyone who can’t take Sunday off, I recommend doing what I do. As a pastor, my Sundays are far from relaxing. They are usually my most stress filled day of the week. While some people think that I only work one day a week, this isn’t nearly true. Even when I’m not officially working, I’m on call 24/7. My church is very respectful of my time but many pastors aren’t as lucky and have people call them or show up on their doorstep in the middle of the night. Getting back to my point however, because my Sundays are not off, I must take another day off.
I honestly believe that the body will break down without rest. I believe that the sabbath was meant to be more than just a time for worship (we’re meant to worship everyday). I believe that the sabbath was to allow the body to recover from the wear and tear of the rest of the week. So I try to take one day a week and do nothing. No studying, no manual labor, nothing physically or mentally tiring. I watch tv, read, or play a game.
Lately I’ve tried to make Mondays my day off but it doesn’t always work. This week I had a viewing to attend and a funeral to prepare for the following day. Yesterday I was wore out from the funeral and planned on taking some extra time off when my wife woke me in the morning with bad sinus trouble so I had to take her to the doctor. We got back home in time for lunch, my morning completely shot. I was so tired I laid down for a nap. Now we’re approaching the end of the week and I have a sermon to write, a lot of stuff going on tomorrow, and someone from church coming to see me Saturday, so it appears as though I won’t get a full day off this week.
Even though I haven’t had an uninterrupted 24 hours this week, I have still made it a point to rest when I can. I did as little as I could on Monday and took a few hours off yesterday. It is important for all of us to rest. God made it that way and so we have every reason to follow the command.