by Sandy Kirby Quandt
The Fourth Commandment tells us to keep the Sabbath holy. It is to be a day to refrain from our usual work. A day of rest.
My first job in high school, besides babysitting, required me to work on Sunday. That bothered me in light of this command, but every time I left work and headed for evening church services afterward, I believed God understood.
I didn’t realize work included doing the laundry until the month I spent helping my father
take care of my mother after she had major surgery. Their dryer broke while I was there, so on this particular Sunday afternoon, between hospital visits I hung the laundry on the clothesline behind their house.
I barely made it inside before the phone rang. My grandmother informed me I was breaking the Fourth Commandment by doing work on the Sabbath.
Now, you need to understand … the woman had to stand in a specific spot on the corner of her porch down the road, around the curve, at just the right angle to even see my parents’ house, let alone the clothesline behind the pump house in the backyard.
In my mind she’d gone to an awful lot of work just to spy on what I was doing, so I didn’t feel her judgement particularly God-honoring on the Sabbath.
But I’m wondering, could keeping the Sabbath be a way to keep us from breaking the Second Commandment? The one about idolatry?
Could our work become an idol if we place it above worshiping God? Could idolizing our jobs lead to idolizing worldly things which could lead to putting something before our love for God?
In the book of Amos God showed Amos a basket full of ripe fruit. The fruit represented Israel ripe for punishment. The Lord was angry with the merchants who couldn’t wait for the Sabbath to end so they could “get out and start cheating again”.
To the peoples’ way of thinking, the Sabbath was a nuisance. It got in the way of expanding commerce. It got in the way of making money. They idolized their work, prestige, and financial gain, so honoring God with a day of rest did not top their to-do list.
One of the things I’m learning about honoring the Sabbath is it helps keep us from chasing things that matter less than our relationship with God. Plus, contrary to my grandmother’s view, I do not believe honoring the Sabbath is about whether I do laundry after I come home from church or not. I believe it has more to do with whether or not I placed God at the top of my day.
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I had another vision from the Sovereign Lord. In it I saw a basket of fruit. The Lord asked, “Amos, what do you see?”
“A basket of fruit,” I answered.
The Lord said to me, “The end has come for my people Israel. I will not change my mind again about punishing them. On that day the songs in the palace will become cries of mourning. There will be dead bodies everywhere. They will be cast out in silence.”
Listen to this, you that trample on the needy and try to destroy the poor of the country. You say to yourselves, “We can hardly wait for the holy days to be over so that we can sell our grain. When will the Sabbath end, so that we can start selling again? Then we can overcharge, use false measures, and fix the scales to cheat our customers. Amos 8:1-5 (GNT)
I wish you well,
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