Faith in Focus

Blowing Our Trumpets In Time!



My son is trying to get a job. Actually he has been offered several jobs but he has had to decline them because all of them require him to work on Sundays. In fact nearly every place of business now operates on a seven day a week basis, thus requiring workers to be available to work on the Lord's Day. Less than a decade ago only essential services were available on Sundays and workers generally had the Lord's Day free in order to be able to go to church.

Times certainly have changed; we live in a more secularised society and the blessings of Christendom are steadily being eroded. I remember when the sanctity of the Sunday rest day was being challenged by businesses greedy for the weekend shoppers' dollar, I shrugged my shoulders and though I pitied both the shoppers and those eager to serve them, I never realised what the future consequences would be. We had a 'live and let live' attitude and were foolish enough to think that we would be free to continue observing the Sabbath and that it would not affect us. However that is the trouble with pragmatic humanism, (for that is surely what that attitude really is) it appears to be fair minded and tolerant but it is really laziness and compromise in an attractive guise. I wish I had been more of my brother's keeper and cared enough to protest and take up my responsibility to be a prophet in the community.

The Sabbath rest is a creation ordinance which means that its observance or desecration affects the whole of the community of man, not just Christians.

The consequences are more far reaching than my son's difficulties obtaining work, though that is serious enough. Since the general public no longer has any regard for the Lord's Day we are subject to subtle slavery and oppression. At first only a few retailers traded on Sundays but now it is just like any week day because nearly everything is open. No business is prepared to lose money or custom by staying shut. The few that wanted to trade forced others to keep up with them. If you ask the proprietors of most businesses they will tell you that they regret the loss of the Sunday off. Effectively they have become slaves since most will also admit that it is not even very profitable to stay open for so much time. People only have so much money to spend anyway.

Man needs regular rest if he is to work well. Our gracious Heavenly Father, knowing our need gave us a day of rest (and worship). Someone recently put it this way, 'we do not work just to rest but we rest so that we might work better'. We can't enjoy fulfilling our dominion mandate, of which work is a major part and thus glorify God, if we are not regularly refreshed. Inevitably people will suffer more and more from stress which will have its destructive effect in the community. Witness the rise of such ugly behaviour as 'road rage'.

As Christians we may find it becoming more difficult to participate in recreational, cultural and community activities. Quite a few sports are played on Sundays (three cheers for Michael Jones for steadfastly refusing to play rugby on Sundays, even at 'All Black' level!!), most choral and orchestral groups have Sunday commitments and even some university exams are scheduled on the Lord's Day. Instead of Christians setting the tone of society and having a seasoning effect, we will find ourselves increasingly marginalised.

By capitulating on an issue that seemed fairly innocuous, we have invited persecution. My son still has the freedom to say no to Sunday work but what about the man with a family to support? It may come to the point when believers have to make sacrifices and even to suffer for the faith. Worse than all this is the shadow cast on the glory of God's Name. He is dishonoured by the nation's refusal to obey Him and this will result in a withholding of blessing and eventual judgement. Like Ezekiel's watchman, will we Christians be accountable for the peoples' 'safety' if we do not "blow the trumpet to warn the people"?

Your sister in Christ

Lisa Vaatstra.

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Faith in Focus /NZ Reformed Church / gmilne@ihug.co.nz / revised April 1998 / Copyright 1998