I 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.