The Mis-Understood Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.’ Exodus 20:8

We’ve made an idol out of Sunday.

(That breaks the second commandment!)

Somewhere along the line we’ve turned Sunday into an idol and missed the whole point of Sabbath.

Sabbath is rest.

Sabbath is disconnecting from work for a full 24 hours. (Can you put away your phone or not answer email for 24 hours?)

Sabbath is an act of trust that God can handle the world without us.

Sabbath is time for renewing our body, mind and soul; and connecting with people we love.

And yes, sabbath is a time to focus on our worship of God- it’s just not the primary point of sabbath. (Last I checked, isn’t worship supposed to be a part of every day?)

Here’s where I think we’ve misunderstood the fourth commandment, and turned Sunday into an idol.

We think that our relationship with God comes down to one day a week, often for no more than an hour, and in a prescribed location where we sit in rows facing a paid professional religious leader. We have in turn venerated those places, the trappings, and the hour. Suddenly, all of that becomes an idol. (If you doubt it is an idol, just tinker with any of those things and you’ll learn what is worshipped.)

Now I don’t have any problem with Sunday as a day of worship. I’ve been attending worship services on Sunday mornings my entire life (and not just because I’m the pastor)! I enjoy the opportunity to sing (it’s not many places where people get together and sing as a group), to fellowship with others, and to learn how my faith in Jesus can make my life better and make me better at life.

Somewhere in our history, disciples of Jesus began meeting together on Sunday- not the Jewish sabbath that begins from Friday at Sunday- because we wanted to honor the resurrection of Jesus. But as Acts 2:46 notes, the early disciples gathered every day.

Every day they worshipped.

Every day they ate together.

Every day…

To these early disciples of Jesus, their connection to Jesus and to one another wasn’t confined to Sunday morning. They stayed connected every day!

As I’ve been attempting to teach over the last several weeks, discipleship happens best when it is connected to everyday life. When we have to get into the messy application of Jesus’ words and imitating Jesus’ ways with people who are often different than us.

If you want to keep the sabbath holy, I’d suggest you plan 24 connected hours each week where your focus is on rest, relationships and Jesus. To that, may I suggest that you either begin or end your sabbath-rest with worship- Sunday or whenever.