When I was growing up, my folks had serious rules about resting on Sundays. I’ll admit, my brother and I thought our parents used it as an excuse to be lazy. We praised Jesus on Sundays and that was it. Period. We went to church, came home, ate a big meal, and took a nap. We finished homework on Saturdays. My daddy never mowed the lawn after church. He never churned his famous home-made ice cream either. My mama prepared Sunday meals mostly on Saturdays. She refused to even grade her Chemistry papers on Sunday. Yep one thing’s for sure, if you were in my family resting on Sunday was mandatory.
As a little girl, I figured everyone on my street probably did the same thing. Instead of staying up late on a Saturday night watching the “Dukes of Hazzard,” they were carefully selecting their Sunday best. Maybe they too were coordinating shoes, hats, and gloves like me. Later, in High School, I realized no one cared what they wore to church. Most of them didn’t even go to church.
Suddenly, I became aware of all the Sunday activities going on. I watched as the neighbors manicured their lawns, construction people hammered things while smoking something other than cigarettes, and kids were riding bikes and eating ice cream. It became blatantly obvious. We were the only ones napping and watching Lifetime movies on Sundays, and that was so not cool.
Now as I strive to become a sold-out Gospel girl, I appreciate my parent’s ambition to honor God by practicing a day of rest. Resting is a gift from the One who created us. God knew His baby girls would feel insane come Friday afternoon at 5:00pm. He knew we may feel like throwing in the towel. He knew we’d be tired of all the running around. So He commanded us to take a day for reflection, restoration, and rejuvenation. After six crazy days of being plumb worn out, who wouldn’t want some of that?
If our ambition is to imitate Christ then maybe we should begin taking inventory of our Sunday activities. Maybe scratch a few things off our “to-do” lists.
I love how the Message paraphrases Exodus 20:9-10 (HCSB, emphasis added):
“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work—For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.”
God set us apart for Himself just like He set apart the Sabbath as his holy day. He knows what we need even before we do. Maybe he knew how busy we’d all become and wanted to ensure we stopped at least once a week to spend quality time with Him.
I don’t always rest on Sundays like I should. But when I do, I feel like a new woman. For me, resting removes the crazy and chaos and replaces it with peace and serenity…just the way God intended.
How do you honor God on Sundays?