September 8, 2009

Another Kind of Weekly Labor Day

Last week I quoted Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who once said: “Preaching is the closest a man will ever get to giving birth.” Then I asked you to pray for me as, each week (in preparation and delivery), “I am in labor until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4.19). So each Sunday, for the preacher, is a labor day … a day, in some small way, of giving birth.

But I also got to thinking … each Sunday can also be a labor day in the more classic sense of the phrase Labor Day. I used the words ‘labor day’ as a bit of a play on words last week. But it is true that each returning Lord’s Day has the capacity to be a bit like what we normally think of when we use the phrase Labor Day. Each Sunday can be, if we are willing to take advantage, an amazing day of rest. So that, when I come home from Sunday services exhausted, from a different kind of labor day … I have in front of me an entire afternoon, evening, and night of complete restfulness – a weekly Labor Day. And so do you!

On Sundays, (on top of the opportunities for spiritual rest, fellowship, and food at 9, 10, and 11am) you and I have the chance, most weeks, to have an open-ended lunch date – either with your wife or husband, or with Christian friends. We can sit around our dinner table (or theirs) and visit as long as we like. On Sunday you can snuggle up under the covers and take as long a nap as you want. Wake up at 5pm, or 6, or 7? No sweat! You don’t have anything pressing on your calendar. It’s Labor Day. And there is no guilt, either. After all, the Lord has told us to take a day off (Exodus 20.8-11)! And then, when we finally wake up from our nap, we have the whole evening, as families, to talk, read, jump on the bed with the kids, etc. And there is still time left, in all this, to do some extended reading in the Bible and in good Christian books. Imagine the possibilities for enjoyment, personal growth, and good old-fashioned rest that lie, all within the bounds of one day a week, set aside for worship and for rest. A Labor Day every week!

And all this because we choose to take advantage of God’s gift of a day of rest! We choose to “desist from our own ways” (Isaiah 58.13). That is, we choose to get the yard work done another day; to go to Meijer another day; to pay our bills and balance our checkbooks another day; to do the laundry another day; to go to the ballgame another day, and so on. And when we do it, the Lord seems to help us get all these things done in the other six days … even when it doesn’t seem possible! I can testify that this is true!

What’s my point? Not that I really have the 4th commandment figured out. I am still tempted, like many of you, to spend the day ‘getting things done.’ So my point is not that I’m doing it perfectly. And even if I (or you) were … what is there to brag about? We’re just taking advantage of the system! We’re just grabbing the free cookies that God has laid out for us each week. So try it out … this weekly Labor Day.

“If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 58.13-14).

For more on the Lord's Day, jump to this series of articles from some time back.  When you get there, scroll to the bottom of the blog and read the articles, bottom to top, in chronological order.

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