|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “How to inhabit time”
Our Bible verse for today: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God: you shall not do any work …” Exodus 20:9-10 (New Jerusalem Publication Society Translation)
Our thought for today: “Take it, you earned it”
In recent years a friend has been gifting me copies of “The Rational Bible Commentary Series” of the Old Testament, being written by Dr. Dennis Prager. As each new book in the series is published, my friend buys a copy for me. Prager is a noted Hebrew scholar and an expert in the Old Testament. Also, his commentaries are insightful, practical, and very user-friendly. These are not obscure theological tomes written for other Bible scholars. They’re written for you and me.
When writing about observing the Sabbath day, Prager offered a way of thinking about it that I had never considered before. By working six days, you earned the right to celebrate the Sabbath. Celebrating the Sabbath is your reward for your hard work the rest of the week. Prager writes:
“In his book “The Sabbath,” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes that we do not rest on the Sabbath so we can work during the week; rather, we work during the week so we can rest and refresh our souls on the Sabbath: Man is not a beast of burden, and the Sabbath is not for the purpose of enhancing the efficiency of his work.”
In other words, you don’t rest so you can work, you work so you can rest. The Sabbath day is your reward. Prager goes on:
“Only free people – not slaves, as the Israelites were in Egypt and as so many other human beings were (and are) all over the world – can take a day off from work every week. By refraining from work on Shabbat, a person affirms his status as a free human being. Therefore, from the Torah’s perspective, a person who works seven days a week is a slave, even if he does so voluntarily.”
I encourage you not be a slave to your work, or to your chores, or even to your recreational activities. Do that on Saturday. For most Christians our Sabbath is Sunday and it’s a time to rest, worship, and renew. It’s a gift from God as a reward for your hard work and diligence the rest of the week. Take it, you earned it.
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