“Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any” – Exodus 16:26 (NIV).
In 1789 France had a revolution which ended up removing the dominion of the church over state. France declared herself a secular state, which she remains today. However, the church’s influence on France still continues. On a visit to Paris once I happened to find that almost all business are closed on Sundays except for those providing emergency services, like some pharmacies and a few convenient stores. The French might have embraced secularism but they did not abandon all the good things that the church taught.
Genesis 2:2 says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Taking after this in Judaism the seven day of the week, Sabbath, is set aside as a day of rest. After a full week of work the Sabbath is a time reserved for worship, reflection of God’s love, friends and families meeting to share and enjoy each other’s fellowship over a meal. Indeed, one Christian denomination, Seventh Day Adventist, has continued to insist on strictly observing this practice by followers.
This though contrasts with some places where perhaps the Bible has had little influence or its teachings have been ignored. Here in Uganda, in many places, business that used to be shut on Sunday, as an observation of a day of rest, are now kept fully open, full steam. While the purpose for this might be to make the business prosper, by adding on 48 extra days of work, evidence abounds that those business that take time off to recuperate from a week’s operation are far more sustainable. France, where business are closed on Sunday, boasts the seventh largest world economy.
During his time here on earth the religious leaders had turned the Sabbath into something else, that even when he healed a man on Sabbath who had been an invalid for thirty eight years, they protested, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” (John 5:12). As believers we should not go to these extreme, and for business, there are those that may need to keep their doors open on Sundays to provide an essential service. But the benefits of having one day in a week off to worship God, fellowship with the brethren, and enjoy family and friends companionship, are far superior.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I thank you for all the work you have given me, and I pray to observe one day in a week for rest and worship to you as thanksgiving, this I pray in Jesus’s name!