The Lord’s Day?

the-lords-dayI find myself with a growing burden over what takes place in Christians’ lives on Sunday these days. I grew up when Sunday was truly the Lord’s Day. In some ways you didn’t have a choice; there was nothing else to do. Stores were closed all day with the very few exceptions of a couple of gas stations and a few restaurants. It was a day when Christians, at least those I knew, observed Sunday as the Lord’s Day.

In fact, I remember when there wasn’t even any television programming being broadcast on Sunday. If you turned the TV on, all you saw was a black and white test pattern accompanied by a high pitched, monotonous tone that never stopped. My parents even made me at least lie down and pretend I was resting most Sunday afternoons. We had to be fresh for the services we always attended at night.

Times have changed and we believe we have “advanced” as a society today. But at what cost to the body of Christ, our families and our personal lives has these changes taken place? I have watched a slow but steady progression or should I say decline take place in the church. Where at one time Sunday was the Lord’s Day, it soon became the Lord’s Morning. And now, unfortunately, it is only the Lord’s Hour.  Church has too often become something we go to on our way to something else. And if it is too inconvenient to go to church on Sunday morning, you probably can find a church service to attend on a Saturday night. This way you will have the entire day to do what you want or what we say we need to do to be ready for work on Monday morning.

Not only are almost all stores open so that we can be sure to purchase our “necessities” but activities of all sorts abound. Having been involved in athletics for most of life, I am well aware of how changes have occurred in this area of life on the Lord’s Day as well. About the only sports that were played on Sunday when I was growing up were professional baseball and football.

I have fond memories as a Yankee fan watching Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra play baseball. But I always had a deep admiration for the man who was called “The Littlest Yankee”, Bobby Richardson. Bobby was one of the very few players in that day that boldly called himself a Christian. Even though his profession caused him to work on Sunday, he kept the Lord first in his life each and every Sunday. I have had the privilege to get to know Richardson personally over the years and his walk with the Lord is as strong now as it was when he was an all star.

I still remember when the first college basketball game was played on a Sunday. It created quite a stir and concern among many Christians. What was happening to the Lord’s Day? Now, some of the biggest college athletic events are reserved for Sunday so more people can watch their favorite team compete for a very temporal crown. I was deeply saddened a short time ago when I turned the TV on early one Sunday afternoon and I saw that two high school football teams were playing. What burdened me the most about this was the fact that one of the teams was a “Christian school” that I had visited and worked with on several different occasions over the years.

Is Sunday merely a day when we can “catch up” on all those things that we are simply too busy to do the other six days of the week? What if the Lord’s Day was truly a day when we followed God’s example when on the seventh day He “rested from all His work”? How long has it been that you and I have spent an entire Lord’s Day completely resting from all our work? What do you think would happen if we spent the day worshipping and resting in Him in preparation for what we will face in the coming week?

I am convicted when I think of Christian businessmen like David Greene and Truett Cathey who said we need to go against the common sense of today’s business world and close our stores on Sunday so that our families and employees can be free to worship the Lord on His day. Every one else said they must stay open if they were going to compete and survive financially.

What would happen if we followed God’s example and spent each and every Sunday resting from ALL our work and rested instead in the person of Jesus Christ? Would our lessons go better? Would our teams play better? Would our relationships with our students be stronger? Would our testimony be more effective? Would we actually be able to accomplish more by resting from all our work than trying to get that last bit of planning, practice, or any other work done on the “only” day we have to catch up? I am of the conviction that we would be blown away by what God can and will do through us by working six days and honoring Sunday as the Lord’s Day.

We say we believe in biblically based education but what are we teaching our students about authentic Christianity if our actions say that we can’t afford to honor the Lord’s Day and trust Him to meet our needs through our work the rest of the week? Is it like saying that trust the Lord to supply all our needs according to His riches but at the same time our actions say that we can’t afford to obey His Word and tithe the first tenth of our increase? It is our actions that teach our children what we really believe about God and His Word.

What about you? Do you have faith that God can accomplish more through you if you would work six days and then rest from all your work on the Lord’s Day? Let’s put Him to the test and prove Him to be faithful to His Word and His character.

Glen Schultz

Author Glen Schultz

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Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Linda Johnson says:

    Thank you, Dr. Schultz.

  • Benjamin Davis says:

    My Pastor has a helpful observation about the Lord’s Day that goads me toward right affections. He says “When we have a day with freedom to do what we choose, what we choose reveals what we love.”

    I find when I give the whole day to delighting in the Lord on His day, Monday is the best work day of the week.

  • Teri says:

    I do agree we need to each have a Lord’s Day resting and keeping it holy. But not everyone can have a Lord’s Day on Sunday due to jobs, etc. So I know some churches reach out to those. And when we speak of resting ~ I would say take a rest from what you do most. If you work outside take a rest. If you work inside take a rest. I would even say if you work on a computer take a rest. I respect and agree but not everyone fits into the same Lord’s Day mold.

  • Jim Misner says:

    I appreciate your concern. I can still remember “Blue Laws” which restricted the sale of items on the Lord’s Day. In Numbers 15:37-41, the Lord commanded the children of Israel to put a “blue cord” in the tassels which marked each corner of their garment. Numbers 15:39 reads, “And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.” As they walked, they would kick up the tassels and their eye would catch the cord of blue in the tassel and remember what God desired to see in their lives. It is also interesting, when reading the prophets in the Old Testament, to see that one of the major indictments against Israel is the way in which they desecrate the Lord’s Day.

    As lovers of Christ may the Lord’s Day be the highlight of our week as we gather together to “get a taste of heaven.” Praise the Lord

  • Rick Martin says:

    You are bringing up a topic that I feel is extremely important. As Christian educators, we often affirm the desire to reach the heart of our students and some of us even proclaim that this is the number one goal for our mission. While this is a noble goal, if not careful, we can condone a major disconnect if we do not understand our own heart and how a Sabbath rest can cultivate greater understanding.

    At Heartwork at School, before talking about strategies for classroom management, we examine God’s Word and discover that the Bible has over 750 references to the heart that can be categorized into nine major functions as researched by Dr. Scott Turansky at the National Center for Biblical Parenting. What is interesting to me is that the nine functions of the heart require clear thinking and demand emotional space that is accommodated by daily time with God and a weekly Sabbath rest. The noise of busyness and the demand of activity often rob us of quality time with God so it shouldn’t surprise us that the Sabbath rest is under attack as you outlined in your blog. If we don’t take time each day and especially each week to “defrag” our lives, our hearts can get dark, dysfunctional, and even dirty.

    I have come to appreciate Pete Scazzero and his ministry of Emotionally, Healthy, Spirituality. He places a big emphasis on taking a Sabbath rest as he argues against the tyranny of busyness and advocates working from a position of rest. Since Christian education is a heart-based ministry, it is imperative for me to rest so I can understand what God is doing in my heart so I can then coach others toward a greater understanding of what God is doing in their heart.

    Yes, as educators, a big part of our job is to train the brain and exhort good work, but if we fail to reach the heart, according to 1 Corinthians 13, we have nothing but a bunch of noise (resounding gong and clanging cymbals) that in the end will cause a headache for those in the vicinity.

    Thanks Glen for the thoughts and encouragement to think through this important commandment.

    Rick Martin Ph.D.
    Heartwork at School

  • Mark Kennedy says:

    In a recent movie about football head injuries, there is a painfully telling quote from a character portraying an NFL executive. He say, “We (the NFL) own an entire day of the week! It used to belong to the churches but now it belongs to us!”
    Lord, grant us the ability to retake that ground!

  • Thanks so much for this article, and I agree that we need to set aside 1 day each week to honor the Lord.

    As a practicing Messianic Jew, Saturday has become our family’s day of worship as we fellowship with members of the only local Messianic congregation in our area. We believe the same as other Bible believing churches: the entire Bible is the Word of God, Yeshua (Jesus) is indeed the Messiah for both Jews and Gentiles, as well as the other core doctrines of the faith.

    The only difference is that we observe the Sabbath rather the 1st day of the week as well as the biblical festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23 and a few other Jewish holidays (John 10–Festival of Lights)

    In studying church history, we discovered that the early church gathered on the Sabbath in their homes. (Sabbath goes from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown at which time Sunday commences.) Sunday became the day of worship under the Emporer Constantine when he forced everyone to worship on Sunday.

    My husband has been burdened for Jews (even before he discovered his own Jewish roots) so we have been active in helping to establish this local assembly.

    Yes, we still attend our local Baptist church on some Sundays, but for the most part, our Saturday has become what used to be our Sunday, and on the Sundays we don’t attend church, we still have a quiet and peaceful Sunday morning. At first, it took some getting used to–going to worship services on Saturday–but now we prefer attending Saturday though it has meant giving up many different activities we used to participate in on Saturday mornings.

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