Preaching through the Ten Commandments has been a soul wrenching ordeal.
When I sit down every week and ask how the perfect and unchanging Word of God applies to First Baptist Church of Vidalia’s life, I must first ask how that word applies to my life.
Over the past 5 weeks I have left my study expressing the words of Isaiah, “Woe is me.” I do not measure up to the sermons I preach.
No sermon has been more challenging to my heart than the fourth commandment on keeping the Sabbath holy.
Full disclosure, I’m a preacher, so guess where I am most Sundays?
What surprised me in the text was not the call for the people of God to take a Sabbath, but the extended call for them to give the Sabbath to everyone who lived in their community.
When I read the passage, the application hit me like a ton of bricks. I know deep down that I should be keeping the Sabbath. When I break the Sabbath, I’m only hurting myself, right? In truth, every time I eat out, every time we eat out, we are keeping people out of church. When we demand the services of grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses, we are keeping church out of the reach of our clerks, servers, and merchants.
I came home after this conclusion and told my wife that we needed to change our Sunday practice. We have made the commitment to truly celebrate the Sabbath. We are going to be in church on Sundays. We are not going to eat out, shop, or participate in any activity which would prevent others from taking the Sabbath.
Would you take the challenge to truly celebrate the Sabbath?
- Make church a priority every week. It is easy to let life get in the way of church. It is easy to allow busy to replace church. Will you make the commitment to be in church every week?
- Go to bed at a reasonable hour on Saturday night. Your Sabbath is sunk when you are up late on Saturday night. If you want your heart right for Sunday morning, prepare it Saturday night. If you want to be ready, go to bed on time.
- Think through Sunday lunch before Sunday morning. Instead of going out to eat, have a meal ready to heat up for after church. Have your meat pre-seasoned and ready to go on the grill. Fix a pot roast in the slow cooker.
- Don’t neglect fellowship. Just because you don’t eat out doesn’t mean you don’t eat with friends. Cook a little extra and invite your friends over. Think about the opportunity for connecting with guests visiting church when you show biblical hospitality and treat them to a home cooked meal.
- Rest. It is ok to sit in your La-Z-Boy and take a nap. In fact, the spirit of the Sabbath encourages you to take a nap.
Will you take a Sabbath? Will you give others in our community the opportunity to take a Sabbath? If we truly want to be biblical people, obedient to both the letter and intent of God’s Word, we must be willing to surrender to God’s holy call.
Taking a Sabbath and giving others a Sabbath is not a suggestion but instead a direct command from God.