52 Days Off a Year

“I woke up 5 years ago and I haven’t really recovered.”  – from a meme found throughout social media in 2016.
“It is? I forgot about that!” replied a shocked corporate executive and leader in our church after I reminded him one of God’s top ten, the ten commandments, is to honor and remember the Sabbath. He had been raised in a home like I had where going to church was not an option and we were enjoying a breakfast together one morning.

“I know!” I shot back.  “I forgot too!”

As a star Sunday school student as a child and after years of being in ministry and teaching through the ten commandments once or twice, I disregarded the implied, specific blessing of honoring the day of the week God himself had taken when creating the universe.  Honestly, my inspection and study of the Sabbath recently came from my wife when she would exclaim she was ‘honoring the Sabbath’ by taking a Sunday afternoon nap.

I was also impressed by a trip to Israel when we were there during the Jewish Sabbath.  People greeted one another in their Sabbath greetings. You could see where that day of the week was similar to our Christmas day but it was every week. Families were celebrating together and everyone was in one accord to rest, relax, and be with family and friends.

As I began to explore this ancient path, I found great delight in honoring what I call the Christian Sabbath, which is Sunday for us Christian believers. (I wrote about it more here.)  I began to look at our own society of how it has turned a nation to almost slave-like zombies.  Many may remember a time when no stores were open.  Then, the corner stores began to open for fuel and minor food purchases.  Then, grocery stores began to open on Sundays.

Today, many stores are opened 24 hours. Other store’s weekly schedule consist of being opened on Sundays.  We are inundated by 24 hour news cycles and 24 hour televisions stations. Remember when there was a time when we only had three networks and they went off at midnight after the national anthem played to a waving American flag?

We are losing sleep because the last thing we check are our phones and the light from those devices are keeping us from quickly going to sleep. Our society appears to have created a slavery where we have all in some way or another been abducted.  Even a recent popular social media meme described us so perfectly, “I woke up five years ago and I haven’t really recovered.”

About two years ago, I was encouraged as I explored the Scriptures for insight into the Sabbath. Time and time again, God implores His people to honor the Sabbath, a day of the week He deems holy or set apart. (Genesis 2:3, Exodus 20:11) He says we will find rest and restoration.

My favorite comes from Isaiah where he encourages us to “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor.”  (Isaiah 58:13-14)

He encourages us to not to pursue our own interest on that day but enjoy it.  We are to speak of it with delight and honor it in every thing we do.  In turn, God will give us great honor.  So we began to look at our Sunday differently.  We began to look at going to church not as work but as worship by serving the Lord.  We looked at our afternoons and made sure we were resting.  Finally and honestly, with the great influence of the great television show Duck Dynasty, we began to pray weekly as a family together.

A typical Sunday for our family goes as followed:  7:45 I along with my sons head out to the church. I arrive at 8:30am where I meet with team leaders, members and attenders, and greet guest. At 11am, I join my wife and rest of my family for our church’s worship experience.  After church, I am ravaged! I sit down at about 2pm finally for a meal.

Around the table is my second favorite moment I look forward to it all week long – eating with my wife and kids.  This rarely happens beyond a Sunday so this is a highlight for us all.  Between lunch and 6pm the kids play, mommy and daddy rest or nap, and our 18 year old usually naps harder.

At 6pm, my favorite moment of the week begins – our family prayer.  Better grades and doing good in school are the number one request and every week.  We pray a blessing over every place of employment for us, our church, and our extended family.  After that, my wife and I go over our calendars for the week and then everyone is off to the races getting ready for Monday to arrive.

There are 52 Sundays a year.  If there is 52 Sundays a year, God himself gave us those days off just for us personally.  Jesus said in Mark 2:27 God created the Sabbath for us.  As the head of our church, ministry, and/or family, what a great ‘boss’ God is to provide us with 52 days off a year.   In a time where vacation shaming is rampant among millennials and billions are lost in vacation pay, it is a delight to know our ‘employer’ is just that good.

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