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
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Faith in Focus /NZ Reformed Church / email@example.com / revised April 1998 / Copyright 1998