I am very concerned about American culture. There is a sinful cancer spreading throughout every nook and cranny and it is showing no sign of stopping. Though fifty years ago this sin was clearly a sin and everyone knew that. Little by little, bit by bit we have allowed our culture to wander away from God’s plan for humanity.
Now, it is everywhere. It seems to be present in almost every television show I watch even creeping into some of the “Christian” shows. But what troubles me the most is our church leaders. We now have a crop of pastors who blatantly disregard the principles of scripture and violate its commands IN PUBLIC. They act as if they are not ashamed.
All of that is to say that I am concerned. I am concerned that there is no turning back. I am concerned that the church has forgotten its first love. I am concerned that my children are growing up in a world where this way of life (that is CLEARLY a sin) is never even given a second thought!
I know the sin you are all thinking of: Gluttony. And while I agree that this is a pervasive sin that is affecting our culture, it is not given the same pride of place. It is not treated as “normal.” There are many self-help books that are geared toward getting your weight under control, but that would never happen with this sin.
Not only that, the sin that is concerning me is not only far more accepted than gluttony, it has rock solid scriptural support. In fact, its foundation is written into the Genesis story as part of the foundation of the entire creation.
I am, of course, talking about Sabbath (and the lack thereof). From the very beginning, we are told to find our identity and worth apart from work. We are commanded to recognize that we ultimately serve God, submit to his authority and find our worth in him.
The profound truth of sabbath is that we are not machines. Our value is not in how much we can produce, how many souls we can save, or how many dollars we can make. Our value comes from the image of God within us, and nowhere else.
Yet, every show on television fights against this ideal showing people working seven days a week, skipping vacation, and burning the midnight oil. Primetime is filled with shows that reinforce the lie that we are our jobs and nothing more. If a Law and Order or Suits shows something besides someone working, it is to help give us a stronger connection with the work-a-holic character.
I mean, this is one of the ten commandments! THE TEN COMMANDMENTS! This is not some boutique sin mentioned as an aside in an instruction manual for priests. This is central to our faith. This is central to our identity, and it’s time to stop.
Its time to stop acting like its not a big deal. It’s time to stop ignoring it in our Sunday School classes. It’s time to stop making excuses and start practicing Sabbath.
The “how” is another article entirely, but suffice it to say that it’s not about which day or what you do, but taking the day. You need to work towards taking 24 consecutive hours to not be productive in your job, to rest, to listen to God and do whatever it is that restores you.
My bet is many may see this post as ridiculous and overreaction, and that is my point. We have fallen too far from faithfulness in this central practice of holiness. We must return. We must move forward, and take back the practice and identity. Right now.
Question for the comments: what is a sabbath practice you have experienced that worked?