Deuteronomy 5:14 “On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey, or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do.”
From time to time I run into people who seem to believe the Lord must have had the biblically ignorant in mind when he gave the command to rest on the Sabbath. To them, church going is for small children who need to learn morals, or those few people who find worship and Bible study interesting for some unknown reason. The Lord himself disagrees. He impresses upon us that giving God a day is for all.
Giving God a day is for you, whoever you are. You are at the very top of God’s list of the kind of person who needs to take time off to pay attention to God. So am I. No matter how old we get, no matter how much we know, no matter how much we believe that we have it all together, this will never change: we will always be the kind of people God has in mind when he tells us to get some rest and go to worship.
So is everyone else we know. This is command is for your son or daughter. Now, convincing them of the “no work” part may not be much of a problem, at least when it comes to work around home. But whether they are little toddlers who scream like you were torturing them when you try to get them into Sunday clothes, and flop around like a fish out of water when you try to get them to sit still in the pew; or whether they are teenagers who cross their arms, roll their eyes, and “humph” at you when you insist that they come to church with you, God wants them in church on Sunday, too. Don’t relent parents. Don’t resist, kids. I know of no biblical exemptions for being too little, too cool, or too ornery.
God even expresses a concern for our neighbor. Servants and foreigners were to observe this day just like everyone else. It’s possible some cold-hearted soul might have reasoned that he could keep the commandment personally by not working, but avoid losing a day’s revenue by forcing his servants to do his work for him instead. Maybe he could get some foreigner to keep things going while he was taking his day off and going to the synagogue.
But don’t servants need rest and time to worship God as much as anyone else? Don’t those who are foreigners to the true faith need all the encouragements possible to find God at church? What was good for the master was good for the servant. What is good for the employer is good for the employee.
Many of you are aware that the founder of Chik-Fil-A® restaurants had this principle in mind when he decided none of his establishments would be open on Sunday. Few of us may believe that we are in a position to have a similar influence on a world that never wants to take a day off. Maybe we don’t have the power of a CEO of a major corporation. But what is preventing us from talking to our employers about the importance of having time off for God? What keeps us from using our influence with other Christian parents to confront the practice of scheduling our children’s athletics on Sunday mornings (in competition with worship, a practice that has spread like a cancer in our culture today)?
Giving God the attention due him is not for a select few “super saints.” Giving God a day is for all.