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You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. Exodus 20:9-10 (NLT)

During the ‘Good Ole’ Days’ Sundays were different! Shopping wasn’t an option because no stores were open. Even the best little boys and girls kept Sunday clothes on all day because that was proper. At least 50% of the people weren’t home for a good part of the afternoon because after church they were at someone else’s house for dinner and fellowship.

Stringent and legalistic as the rules were in those days, they had nothing on the original ‘Sabbath Day’ rules handed down to the Israelites. Work of any sort was forbidden. If you were caught working you were stoned first, then the action was investigated. Sabbath worship wasn’t an option, it was a requirement.

Then Jesus came along and taught us a valuable lesson regarding the Sabbath. He taught us that the Sabbath was made for men; men were not made for the Sabbath. Quite often Jesus got himself in trouble for what he did on the Sabbath. He did terrible things like healing people and taking away their pain. It’s interesting to note that most of these healings took place around the temple or synagogue. Why? Because Jesus was on his way to Church when an opportunity arose and he met it. Never let yourself forget, Jesus honored the Sabbath in his heart by doing Kingdom work with his hands.

Jesus changed the focus of the ‘Sabbath’ from duty to permission. There are many different views of when the Sabbath is for the Christ-follower, or if it should be followed or how it should be followed. But many of those arguments and viewpoints miss the intent of what God told us way back on the mountain.

Mankind was made for work. Some of us work with our hands, some with our heads. Some work to build things, some work to build lives. Some work to heal, some work to teach. Some work to serve, some work to provide. Work is a privilege for each of us and God has gifted us to work for his Kingdom and all work is Kingdom work for the believer.

But God’s original command was two fold. Not only are we given the privilege and giftedness to work, we are given permission to rest and reflect on all God has given us. Jesus came to teach us that the ‘rules’ of the Sabbath had been replaced with permission to worship God whenever and however we can.

The human body was made for work. The human soul was made for worship. Six days (days or your choosing) are to be set aside to work, but you have permission to set aside one day (at the least) for your soul to be refreshed and to reflect on what God is doing and calling you to do.

Do all to the Glory of God. Worship him in your work. Worship him in your play. Worship him in your rest. But take one day to let your soul catch up and focus on what God is doing in your life. He’s given you permission to do that.

PRAYER: Lord God I thank you for all you have done for me. I praise you for my giftedness and my ability to do Kingdom work for you. When my work becomes stress-filled help me remember it’s all for your glory. Thank you for the permission you gave us to take time for our souls to rest and reflect on your goodness. Amen.

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March 2012
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