As we look around the world today and observe the ever increasing secular culture, many of us are saddened by what we think the future has in store for future generations. It appears that the old rules and norms have been set aside for the sake of political correctness. The idea of obedience to God’s laws and teachings is thought by many to just be “old fashioned or “unenlightened”.
Starting in Europe, and now here in the United States, Sunday church attendance is dropping. Sadly people are squeezing time for God out of their schedules. Is it any wonder that since we have squeezed God out of our lives and we have squeezed any reference to God out of the government and schools systems that a “me oriented” secular godless society seems to be flourishing? Have you thought about the future and worried about what is to come? How can you personally help to correct the direction our society is heading?
Today I want to encourage you to see there is one simple yet important thing we can all do to stem the tide of secularism. This idea is as old as creation and we read about it in the Bible as early as Genesis 2:2-3. “On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.” The important thing to make note of here isthat theseventh day was set aside as “Holy”.
Allow me to share an analogy. In the secular business world there is an old familiar saying that goes like this: “in order to make more money you either have to work harder or smarter. ” Nearly twenty years ago I was at a point in my business that I really needed to increase my gross revenues. I signed up to attend a three year entrepreneurial training program. The very first thing that the instructor did was refute this old saying. He asked everyone in the program if anyone thought they were not already working as hard and as smart as they could. Everyone with no exception was in agreement; they were all working as hard and as smart as they thought they could, yet it appeared that achieving higher income levels was capped by our inability to work more hours, and therefore impossible.
The trainer went on to tell us that we had hit the “artificial ceiling of complexity.” Then he went on to tell us something counter intuitive. He said this. “The only way to make more money in an entrepreneurial business is to take more time off work”.
At first this didn’t make sense. But he went on to explain. He told us in a sales type business our real capital was creativity. He explained that as long as we kept working harder and harder we were wearing ourselves out and stifling the most important thing we have, our creativity. Throughout the remainder of these classes we learned that by scheduling days away from work we became rested and this rest allowed our brains time to be creative. When we returned to work with these new creative ideas they helped to increase revenues. With more revenues we were afforded even more time off and thus even more creativity. I can attest to the fact his theory worked. My business took a dramatic leap forward.
Now what does this have to do with you and what does it have to do with changing the direction of society away from secularism? Perhaps there was an element of Biblical truth in the theory this business planner was teaching us. Let’s explore further.
As stated above, God set aside the seventh day as a holy day of rest. One of the Ten Commandments is: “Remember the Sabbath day-keep it holy“. Unfortunately in our modern culture we have combined Saturday and Sunday into our two days of leisure and recreation. We seem to have abandoned the “keep it holy” command.
Most people who observe the Sabbath regard it as having been instituted as a perpetual covenant for the Israelites as a sign of two events: the day during which God rested after completing creation and the day the Israelites were delivered from Egypt. As Christians our “new Sabbath day” now on Sunday, is a day of remembrance of Christ’s resurrection. Originally, Sabbath-breakers were officially to be cut off from the assembly or potentially killed.
Perhaps today we are killing ourselves and killing our society by not following God’s command to “keep holy the Lord’s day.” Perhaps we have replaced “the Lord’s Day” with “our day”. Even for good Christians, Sunday has evolved into setting aside one hour for church attendance rather than for one entire holy day set aside for God. The commandment was to keep this day holy! Be honest for a minute and ask yourself this question: aside from the one hour or so you spend in church on Sunday do you truly see Sunday as a day entirely set aside for God or a day of recreation and fun for you?
In Exodus 5:1 we read: “Afterwards, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Let my people go, that they may hold a feast for me in the wilderness.” I think that ever since Charlton Hesston omitted the part about setting a feast for God in his famous line in the movie The Ten Commandments, “let my people go” that we see Sunday as simply a day of rest. God directed Moses to ask the Pharaoh to give the Israelites some time off work to worship and spend time in the desert with him. It was because the Pharaoh denied this request that the Egyptians were hit with the plagues.
Perhaps we personally and our society in general are suffering from a plague of our own making. God wanted us to spend an entire day with Him, not just resting but a holy day of coming to know Him more intimately. One hour is just not enough time for that.
If we want to change the direction society is heading, if we want to reorient society back towards God, then we ourselves need to be the first to change. We are called to love God. In order to love Him fully we need to know Him. In order to know Him we need to spend time with Him. In order to have a quality relationship with the loved ones in our lives we need to spend quality time with them, certainly more than just one hour a week. The same is true with God.
I challenge you to examine your Sundays. Are your Sunday’s really a “holy day” or just a “holy hour”? Is this a day of play, filled with so many activities that you look forward to getting back to work on Monday just to “rest” from all of your activities or is it a day set aside for God?
What are some practical things we can do to reclaim Sunday as a day for God? One small step would be if some work must be done, to dedicate everything you do on Sunday to God. If you find yourself doing yard work or gardening, offer that work up as a prayer to God. Try making time on Sunday before going to Church to read that Sunday’s reading in advance. Make time in your Sunday schedule to read a good Christian book or to read a section of the Bible. Consider visiting someone who is sick or in need and bring them the joy of Christ. Consider spending time outdoors marveling at what gifts God has provided us in nature. If your family gathers together on Sundays don’t forget to bring God into the conversation. Finally, just find a quiet place to rest and ask God to reveal himself more fully to you inyour thoughts.
I was taught in the training program about the importance of time set aside to allow for more creative thinking and its impact on my bottom line. God has told us the same thing. We must set aside one day a week to improve the “bottom line” in our relationship with Him. I encourage you to beginthis coming Sunday torededicate this day back to God. The changes in you and in the world could be astounding.
Heavenly father teach me and guide me to truly make my Sunday’s a special day set aside for you. Amen!