Q. I have busy weekends and I usually finish most of my homework on Sundays. But then, in youth group I started feeling bad when we talked about honoring the Sabbath by not doing any work. So is it a sin for me to do homework, do my chores, or work at my job on Sunday?
A. Let’s look at it in a different way. What if someone asked you: “Is it wrong for me to ignore my girlfriend because I’ve got homework and a job?” I think you would probably respond: “Yes! You can’t build a good and loving relationship like that!”
It’s that same way with God. Let’s not talk about whether or not it’s a “sin” to work on Sunday. Let’s instead talk about the best way to build a relationship with God. Any relationship takes quality time. And that’s the big idea behind “honoring the Sabbath.”
One of the Ten Commandments says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8, NIV). In the New Testament, this was one of the commandments that Jesus was accused of breaking because he didn’t follow the strict prohibitions against work that the religious leaders insisted on. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27, NIV).
Jesus wasn’t saying this commandment didn’t matter; he was explaining that it had a greater meaning than the people thought. It means that God wants you to spend at least one day a week in rest. “Six days do your work, but on the seventh do not work” (Exodus 23:12, NIV). It’s a day God gave to believers because he knew rest was good. I don’t think the exact day is important; what’s important is setting aside one day in the week for rest. By not working one day out of seven, we show our gratitude and trust in God. We live the way he intended us to because he knows what’s best for us.
We’re also to keep the Sabbath holy, which means that we devote at least one day a week to spending time with God, worshiping him and doing things that remind us that he is our provider.
So, is it wrong to have a job or to do homework on Sunday? No, but if you spend at least a day a week resting and concentrating on God, you’ll take one big step toward developing a quality relationship with him.
Marshall, a former pastor, is editor of Leadership, a magazine for pastors.
Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today/Ignite Your Faith magazine.
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