Focal passage: Exodus 20:8-11; 31:12-17
Last night our family gathered for a potluck dinner on the lake, and my plan was to bring a tray of my favorite chicken nuggets. As delicious as this plan may have sounded, it was impossible. The company who crafts these tasty bites of goodness made a commitment many years ago to close on Sundays and allow employees a day of rest and worship. And so, for 24 hours every week, their doors are locked.
This idea of refraining from work on the Sabbath day is much older than fried chicken. As part of the Ten Commandments, God commanded His people to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). They were to do their work six days and rest on the seventh, following the same pattern God demonstrated in Creation.
But keeping the Sabbath is more than an Old Testament command. As part of God’s moral law, we Christ followers are still called to set aside time in our busy schedules. When we choose to press pause on our hectic lives, we are reminded that God is in control and we belong to Him. Yes, we all have long lists of things to accomplish, but it is imperative that we stop and reflect on the goodness of the One who loves us and holds all things together.
When we choose to halt our to do list and intentionally focus on God, we proclaim our dependence on Him and identify ourselves with His generational covenant with His people. The rest God gives is physically refreshing and spiritually renewing.
My favorite fried chicken franchise stands out when its doors are closed. I can’t fathom how many millions of dollars they haven’t made because of their decision, but their company has flourished. We must remember, however, that celebrating the Sabbath isn’t merely about refraining from buying chicken nuggets. It’s about stopping to remember and acknowledge the Creator who holds all things together and has given us life and hope and salvation.